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Abu Ghraib damaged US' reputation: HRW

The unlawful conduct has also undermined Washington's much-needed credibility as a proponent of human rights.
PTI | By Press Trust of India, Washington
UPDATED ON JAN 15, 2005 10:59 AM IST

The Human Rights Watch (HRW) has said that the torture of prisoners at Abu Ghraib by American military personnel has done serious damage to US reputation as the champion of human rights.

"The US government's use of torture at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq poses a different kind of challenge because "the abuser is so powerful," Executive Director of HRW Kenneth Roth said on Thursday.

When a government as dominant and influential as the US openly defies the law and seeks to justify its defiance, it also undermines the law itself and invites others to do the same, Roth said.

The US government's deliberate and continuing use of "coercive interrogation, its acceptance of and deployment of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, has had this insidious effect, well beyond the consequences of an ordinary abuser".

That unlawful conduct has also undermined Washington's much-needed credibility as a proponent of human rights and a leader of the campaign against terrorism, he said.

Meanwhile State Department spokesman Richard Boucher, in his reply, insisted that the US is "at the forefront of the defence and protection of human rights around the world."

He claimed that there are two aspects to the Abu Ghraib scandal. "One is the terrible things that went on and the second is the way we deal with them."

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