- Parliamentary Business
- Senators & Members
- News & Events
- About Parliament
- Visit Parliament
Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Government must act on UN Guantanamo report.
Nicola Roxon MP Shadow Attorney-General 17 February 2006
Government must act on UN Guantanamo report
The Government must accept that it has been wrong and act urgently on the David Hicks case, after a UN report has condemned the detention of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay.
The UN report says that the detention and trial process is illegal under international law.
The report confirms what Labor has been saying all along: that the Military Commission process that is intended to try Mr Hicks is no guarantee of a fair trial. The UN investigators held that view that:
the legal regime applied to these detainees seriously undermines the rule of law and a number of fundamental universally recognized human rights…
This report is yet another expert opinion that condemns the trial process. It is consistent with the views of several other countries, including the United Kingdom, and many eminent international and Australian lawyers, including former High Court judge Mary Gaudron. Last year we learnt that even lawyers working for the military prosecutors believed the process was rigged.
In the face of all the evidence, the Howard Government arrogantly maintains that the process is fair and refuses to call on the United States to change its policy. It is ever more isolated in this extreme view.
Now that the world’s highest human rights body has confirmed that the process is unfair and illegal, Mr Howard and Mr Ruddock must accept the reality and act. Mr Hicks has been detained without trial for over four years—the Government must bring this to a head now.
Every Australian citizen deserves to know that their Government will stand up for their right to a fair trial. In failing to do this for Mr Hicks, the Howard Government has demonstrated that it is too out of touch and too incompetent to be relied on for this most basic protection.
If Mr Hicks is guilty of involvement in war crimes, as alleged by the US, it is even more important that he should receive a trial that is fair and above board. We cannot afford to undermine the fight against terrorism and war crimes with shonky processes.
Friday, 17 February 2006 For more information call Jacob Varghese: 0417 108 362 or 02 6277 4767