Over the last two days, US State Department representatives have tried to answer questions from a United Nations expert panel in Geneva about our compliance with our obligations under the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (often called CAT).
Their job hasn't been easy. It's hard to put lipstick on a pig.
Legal advocates who have long represented Guantanamo prisoners and other human casualaties of our global war on our fears raised the resort to torture the Prez has admitted, the use of brutal force-feeding on inmates, and indefinite captivity.
Advocates for US domestic prisoners charged that widespread use of solitary confinement violates our treaty obligations. So does police brutality.
Numerous civil society groups who know perfectly well that they are not heard within the United States -- gays subjected to "reparative therapy," transgender people, homeless citizens, Chicago youth members of We Charge Genocide (pictured) -- seized the opportunity to make their case.
Mike Brown's parents came from Ferguson to testify to the brutality of militarized law enforcement.
The best account of the two-day hearing I've seen is from Newsweek. Extensive excerpts follow:
The United States Human Rights Network took the lead in this country on organizing community groups for this periodic review.