The UK has today been singled out for heavy criticism in a new report from Amnesty International on the practice among European countries of striking “no torture” deals with foreign countries as a means to deport people it labels a threat to national security.
In a 36-page report – Dangerous Deals: Europe’s reliance on ‘diplomatic assurances’ against torture – Amnesty documents how European governments are attempting to send foreigners alleged to be security threats to countries where they’re at risk of torture or other ill-treatment in exchange for unreliable, unenforceable “diplomatic assurances” that they will be treated humanely.
Describing the UK as “the most influential and aggressive” promoter of the policy of seeking “diplomatic assurances”, Amnesty is calling on the UK and 11 other European countries to immediately end the practice.
The call comes as the Special Immigration Appeals Commission is set to deliberate on the case of an Ethiopian national threatened with deportation based on a “memorandum of understanding” between the UK and Ethiopia that purportedly promises that the man will not be tortured on return. However, Amnesty has documented serious human rights abuses in Ethiopia and believes that diplomatic deals with Ethiopia are an extremely unreliable guide to future treatment in that country.