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< Back to current issue of Immigration Daily

Bloggings on Deportation And Removal

by Matthew Kolken

UN Report: Obama Administration Allegedly Tortured 16 gay and transgender Immigrants Held in Immigration Detention

The United Nations Human Rights Counsel has issued a shocking report alleging that the Obama administration has tortured 16 gay and transgender immigrants detained in U.S. immigration detention facilities, charging direct violations of articles 7 and 12 of the Convention against Torture. The 81 page report of the Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, was released on February 29, 2012.  

Apparently, the Special Rapporteur notified the Obama administration of the allegations of torture and abuse all the way back on August 19, 2011, but the Administration declined to respond to the communication. 

As a result, a demand was made in the released report for the Obama administration to immediately investigate the conditions of detention, solitary confinement and ill-treatment of the immigrants, and to prosecute and punish the individuals in the administration that are allegedly responsible for torturing immigrant detainees.

Heartland Alliance’s National Immigrant Justice Center (NIJC) was responsible for exposing the administration issuing the complaint that immigrant detainees were victims of sexual abuse, solitary confinement and the withholding of HIV medication and hormone therapy.

Examples include

  • A guard sexually assaulting an immigrant detainee that was locked in solitary confinement;
  • Guards refusing to unshackle an immigrant detainee during a medical visit disrupting the safe draw of blood during an HIV examination.  The victim remarked: ""Even though the nurses and doctors asked them, [explaining] that they could not withdraw blood like that, the officers from CCA [Corrections Corporation of America] didn't care, and they had to take blood from my hand, and even though I cried from pain, they didn't care";
  • A transgender asylum seeker being denied hormone therapy, which resulted in a suicide attempt in February 2011; and
  • Taunting immigrants with "jokes" about them "dying of AIDS."

 I'm speechless.


About The Author

Matthew Kolken is a trial lawyer with experience in all aspects of United States Immigration Law including Immigration Courts throughout the United States, and appellate practice before the Board of Immigration Appeals, the U.S. District Courts, and U.S. Courts of Appeals. He is admitted to practice in the courts of the State of New York , the United States District Court for the Western District of New York, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, and is a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA).


The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of ILW.COM.


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