America falling short on complying with anti-torture treaty, UN report finds

Concerns raised about police brutality and excessive force, especially towards blacks and Latinos

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The Independent US

The United States is falling short of complying with an international anti-torture treaty, a United Nations report has found.

Police brutality, military interrogations and prisons were among the UN Committee Against Torture’s top concerns when they released their report on Friday.

It is the first review of the US record since 2006. The panel looked the nation’s compliance with the UN Convention Against Torture, which took effect in 1987 and was ratified in the US in 1994.

“There are numerous areas in which certain things should be changed for the United States to comply fully with the convention,” said Alessio Bruni of Italy, one of the panel's chief investigators.

The report expresses concerns about allegations of police brutality and excessive use of force by officers, particularly the Chicago Police Department’s treatments of blacks and Latinos.

It also calls for the use of taser weapons by police to be restricted only to life-threatening situations.

However, it had no specific recommendation or reaction to a grand jury’s decision not to indict Darren Wilson, the white police officer who shot dead unarmed black teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, in early August.

The panel criticised the US record on military interrogations, maximum security prisons, illegal migrants and solitary confinement while calling for tougher federal laws to define and outlaw torture, including with detainees at Guantanamo Bay and in Yemen.

It also called for a ban on interrogation techniques that rely on sleep or sensory deprivation that is “aimed at prolonging the sense of capture”.

Additional reporting by Associated Press