Human Rights: Export Only

The claim that the ‘war’ in Afghanistan was about preserving liberty and freedom was undermined by photographs of shackled and blindfolded Al Qaeda suspects detained by the US in the legal limbo of Guantanamo Bay.

The World Today Updated 23 October 2020 Published 1 March 2002 3 minute READ

Deirdre Fottrell

Barrister and lecturer in international human rights law, University of Essex

Reactions inside and outside the US have been markedly different. In America, politicians invoked the events of September 11 and their apparent connection with Al Qaeda to justify their isolation and exposing them to penal conditions considerably harsher than are acceptable under the constitution or international law. 

Internationally, however, there were doubts about how a conflict which began with talk of the rule of law and the inherent value of human rights, could end with such a show of contempt for both.

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