But diplomats from countries at odds with Washington — some of whom queued overnight to be among the first on the speakers’ list — hammered the U.S. delegation for alleged abuses.
Cuban ambassador Rodolfo Reyes Rodriguez spoke first, calling on Washington to end the blockade on his island country and respect the Cuban people’s right to self-determination.
Venezuela’s envoy German Mundarain Hernandez said it should “close Guantanamo and secret detention centers around the world, punish those people who torture, disappear and execute detainees arbitrarily and provide compensation to victims.”
Iran’s delegation urged the United States to “halt serious violations of human rights and humanitarian law including covert external operations by the CIA carried out on pretext of combating terrorism.”
Harold Koh, State Department legal adviser, said the Obama administration had begun by “turning the page” on Bush-era practices and fully ensured humane treatment of detainees.