UN rejects Guantanamo visit offer
UN human rights monitors say they will not accept a US
offer to visit the Guantanamo Bay prison camp unless
they are given free access to the prisoners.
The monitors said they could accept some limitations,
but not a ban on private interviews with detainees.
The Pentagon, which received the UN request for a
visit more than three years ago, said the invitation
showed it had "nothing to hide".
About 500 people are currently being held at
To date, only the International Committee of the Red
Cross has been granted direct access to prisoners at
the camp in Cuba.
The three monitors said in a statement that they could
not accept the exclusion of private interviews as
"this would not only contravene the terms of reference
for fact-finding missions... but also undermine the
purpose of an objective and fair assessment".
The three also said they were disappointed that the
visit would only last one day, and that two other UN
human rights investigators had been excluded from the
However, they said they were confident the US
government would accept their demand to talk privately
Human rights activists have criticised conditions at
the camp, where several inmates are on hunger strike.
The UN first asked for permission to visit the camp
when it opened in January 2002, months after the
US-led invasion of Afghanistan which toppled the
The UN has accused the US of stalling over its
repeated requests to visit the camp to look into
allegations of human rights abuses.