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An investigator for the UN Human Rights Council said Friday that the US has committed human rights violations in its interrogations of terror suspects and by putting questionable restrictions on immigration. In preliminary report from what will be a larger document due to the Council later this year, UN special rapporteur on human rights and counterterrorism Martin Scheinin said at the end of a US visit that the "enhanced interrogation techniques" used by the US to extract information from alleged terrorists amounted to torture under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights treaty, to which the US is signatory. US Ambassador to the UN Zalmay Khalilzad countered that the techniques used were not torture because they are done "under US laws and procedures and legitimate decision-making authorities." Scheinen said that these laws, mostly enacted since 9/11, have undermined civil liberties, but noted that the US should not be regarded as an enemy to human rights, especially in regard to press freedom.

On Wednesday, Amnesty International in its 2007 annual report on human rights said that the 'war on terror' has eroded human rights in the US and other western nations, with Amnesty International Secretary-General Irene Khan characterizing it as an attempt "to roll back some fundamental principles of human rights."


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