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Ireland in breach of Torture Convention: Shannonwatch

Sionainn (Shannon) Aiport, Co. ClareShannonwatch is a non-governmental organisation established to monitor the use of an Irish civilian airport by foreign military.

These plane-spotting peace and human rights activists conduct "continuous monitoring of all military flights and rendition-linked flights in and out of Shannon [Airport] and through Irish airspace," many of them occurring in the dead of night.

US troops in Shannon Airport, Republic of IrelandShannonwatch contends that by allowing the US military to use Shannon Airport, Ireland is complicit in the "unjustified killing and suffering in Afghanistan.”  Austria, by contrast, closed its entire airspace to US military aircraft in the lead-up to the invasion of Iraq.

Further, Shannonwatch alleges the Irish Government is in breach of the UN Convention Against Torture by allowing known and suspected rendition planes to land at Shannon:

"A recently released Wikileaks cable from 2007 has revealed that [then] Minister Dermot Ahern was 'convinced' that renditions flights had transited Shannon."

An anti-war "die-in" outside the terminal building at Shannon AirportThe Convention Against Torture, to which the United States has been legally bound since 1994 and Ireland since 2002, says:

  • No exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat of war … or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification of torture. (Art.2 (2))
  • No State Party shall expel, return ('refouler') or extradite a person to another State where there are substantial grounds for believing that he would be in danger of being subjected to torture. (Art. 3(1))
  • Each State Party shall … establish its jurisdiction over … alleged offender[s] present in any territory under its jurisdiction … [and] shall take [them] into custody … (Art. 5(2) & 6(1)).


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