Extraordinary rendition is a political practice that involves deliberate transfer of individuals to other jurisdictions for interrogation using coercive means. These individuals who comprise terrorists are usually transferred to foreign countries where torture and other clandestine activities are considered normal in the process of acquiring information. The term extraordinary rendition can be likened to rendition which refers to handing over of individuals to other jurisdictions without following the necessary legal process.
However, the contrast is that extraordinary rendition implies the use of torture (Great Britain: Parliament: House of Commons: Foreign Affairs Committee & House of Commons, 2009). Although it is associated with the September 11 attack, the process can be traced back to the administration of President Bill Clinton. The attack on September 11 only heightened and expanded the program (American Civil Liberties Union, 2005). The process of extraordinary rendition is illegal, which explains the need to carry it outside the United States territory.
Since the United States is bound by the United Nations Convention Against Torture (UNCAT), it uses the services of other countries that do not have strict human rights protection laws. This practice can be amounted to outsourcing torture. Former CIA agent Robert Baer notes that,“If you want a serious interrogation, you send a prisoner to Jordan. If you want them to be tortured, you send them to Syria. If you want someone to disappear — never to see them again — you send them to Egypt. ” (American Civil Liberties Union, 2005; para 2).
The nature of the rendition program in the united states raise serious debate as to its justification. The process is in itself brutal, extra-legal and an abuse of conventional human rights. However, extraordinary rendition is a program that targets terrorist who pose a threat to innocent American civilians and therefore one would argue that the program is justified. Since the September 11 attack, it has been necessary to obtain information regarding terrorism as fast as possible in order to gurantee the security of America.
Striking a balance between national security and preservation of human rights would be a tricky affair because there are valid arguments from both sides. References American Civil Liberties Union. (2005). Fact Sheet: Extraordinary Rendition . Retrieved june 6, 2010, from: http://www. aclu. org/national-security/fact-sheet-extraordinary-rendition Great-Britain: Parliament: House of Commons: Foreign Affairs Committee & House-of-Commons. ( 2009). Human rights annual report 2008: seventh report of session 2008-09, report, together with formal minutes, oral and written evidence. London: The Stationery Office.
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