The top ten recipients of US foreign assistance this year all practice torture and are responsible for major human rights abuses, according to the findings of Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and other leading human rights organisations.
This may be in violation of existing US law, which requires that little or no aid be provided to a country which “engages in a consistent pattern of gross violations of internationally recognized human rights, including torture”.
A report released by the Congressional Research Service lists the following countries as the largest beneficiaries of US government-provided aid planned for 2014:
1. Israel – $3.1bn
2. Afghanistan – $2.2bn
3. Egypt – $1.6bn
4. Pakistan – $1.2bn
5. Nigeria – $693m
6. Jordan – $671m
7. Iraq – $573m
8. Kenya – $564m
9. Tanzania – $553m
All ten have been accused of torturing people in the last year, and at least half of them are reported to be doing so on a massive scale.
In Afghanistan, for example, a UN report that torture in prisons continues to be “widespread”, with over half of the 635 detainees who were interviewed claiming to have been abused. According to Amnesty International, torture is also “widespread” in Uganda and remains “common” practice in Iraq.
Elsewhere, in Kenya, Human Rights Watch claim that “police in Nairobi tortured, raped and otherwise abused and arbitrarily detained at least 1,000 refugees between mid-November 2012 and late January 2013.” Tanzanians “at most risk of HIV” also face “widespread police abuse” – including torture – and are “regularly raped, assaulted and arrested”.
The worst abuses in detention, however, are alleged to be happening Nigeria, where in addition to the “widespread” use of torture, nearly a thousand people died in military custody in the first six months of 2013. A senior officer in the Nigerian army, speaking on condition of anonymity, claimed that “about five people, on average, are killed nearly on a daily basis”.