UN: Force Feeding Gitmo Hunger Strikers Violates International Law

John Glaser, May 01, 2013


President Obama this week defended the US’s policy of force feeding detainees in Guantanamo Bay who are protesting their due process-free indefinite detention by going on a hunger strike.

On Wednesday, UN human rights officials declared that force feeding amounts to torture, saying “it is unjustifiable to engage in forced feeding of individuals contrary to their informed and voluntary refusal of such a measure.”

…[A]ccording to the World Medical Assembly’s Declaration of Malta, in cases involving people on hunger strikes, the duty of medical personnel to act ethically and the principle of respect for individuals’ autonomy, among other principles, must be respected. Under these principles, it is unjustifiable to engage in forced feeding of individuals contrary to their informed and voluntary refusal of such a measure. Moreover, hunger strikers should be protected from all forms of coercion, even more so when this is done through force and in some cases through physical violence. Health care personnel may not apply undue pressure of any sort on individuals who have opted for the extreme recourse of a hunger strike. Nor is it acceptable to use threats of forced feeding or other types of physical or psychological coercion against individuals who have voluntarily decided to go on a hunger strike.

They also called for an immediate end to the indefinite detention without charge or trial of 166 prisoners at Gitmo, warning “the continuing and indefinite detention of individuals without the right to due process is arbitrary and constitutes a clear violation of international law. This situation is particularly clear with respect to those prisoners—at least 86—who have been cleared for transfer by the Government of the United States of America,” but have been denied their freedom still.

18 Responses to “UN: Force Feeding Gitmo Hunger Strikers Violates International Law”

  1. Perhaps the deaths of 135 at Guantanamo would bring too much attention to Obama's War Against the Poor, or probably only truthout and counterpunch would do more than mention it i the US press. Even so, it's going to be tough to crack through the alcohol-addled and navel-gazing brains of most Americans.

    Sue S.

  2. The detainees may have to resort to more drastic methods–what do they have to lose at this point?

  3. [...] UN: Gitmo Force-Feeding Violates Int’l Law [...]

  4. If the detainees somehow managed to go on a breathing strike, the Obama administration would waterboard them.

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  6. [...] the UN begs to differ here:  UN: Gitmo Force-Feeding Violates Int’l Law.  No kidding!   We can’t claim China is ‘evil’ if we are as evil.  We lost the [...]

  7. We have a faliure of a long term policy which is the simple fact that some of these people are too dangerous to release but we cannot legaly put them on trial due to they are not American Citizens but we also cannot have them tried at the U.N. due to it will make us basically look like ideots in the fact that they will be able to provide just as much evidence against our men…. Bush should have never opened Gitmo in the first place due to it pretty much was still posible before the Iraq war to have the U.N. put them on trial…. Gitmo has created a huge problem which basically results in a lose/lose situation.

  8. To terrorize the American public and keep it in submission to authority — what Gitmo Bay is all about.

    Only one solution — bring down our Empire.

  9. Obama: I will close Guantanamo, we will close Guantanamo.., so in time (I) become (we) and now is (them) who don't want to close Guantanamo.., what about when democrats had full control of both houses.., were they really democrats or just acting to fool people again.., or lets put it like this: is USA government in respect to democracy and its principals have any respect for international laws..?

  10. This week is the 32nd anniversary of the death of Bobby Sands in H Blocks, Maze Prison. Even that bitch Maggie Thatcher didn't force feed the IRA hunger strikers. Ten men died on hunger strike. Obama refuses to close Gitmo, he violates international law by his drone murders, and he refuses to investigate and prosecute the criminals who preceded him.

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  15. [...] UN: Force Feeding Gitmo Hunger Strikers Violates International Law:President Obama this week defended the US’s policy of force feeding detainees in Guantanamo Bay who are protesting their due process-free indefinite detention by going on a hunger strike. But UN human rights officials say it amounts to torture. [...]

  16. immediatly arrest force feeders and charge w abuse potentially torture!
    immediatly release detainees that dont have physcial evidence(words arnt evidence)that shows a 99%+chance they commited a crime-arrest kidnappers and kidnappers owe $65+/day the victim was kidnapped to the victim.
    illegal to indefinitely detain someone w.o speedy public jury trial and w.o being charged.
    illegal to detain someone for being a: terrorist, terroist=someone that somoene is terrified or someone that trys to and succeffully terrifys someone. terror=fear, an invisable emotion only the expirecer knows if they are expirencing, enemy=someone someone doesnt like, doesnt mean their bad, combatant=may be defensive or offensive, suspect=someone you think might have done something, based on group membership/name/affliation(ex:alCIAda, us mil, nazi, jew, blood, crip, shia, suni), being labled a risk/threat, plot=plan, its not illegal to plan.
    put all prisons and criminal trials under 24-7live public video survailence.

  17. [...] Additioanlly, Obama seems to have no plan for the rest of the detainees who have not been cleared for release but whose alleged guilt is not admissible in court (because the Bush administration illegally tortured them – and then got away with it thanks to Obama’s refusal to impose any accountability for crimes committed). Meanwhile, he continues to order the forced feeding of scores of detainees starving themselves in protest of their injustice, which is a form of torture in itself according to UN human rights officials. [...]

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