Amnesty International has expressed concern that the Government has not satisfactorily investigated allegations that Shannon Airport may have been used for the transfer of terrorism suspects by the United States.

The concerns are raised in Amnesty's annual report on the state of the world's human rights, which is published today.

Amnesty's Secretary General, Irene Khan, this morning accused European governments of ‘burying their heads in the sand’ over so-called rendition and of refusing to examine their own records.

The Government has said it accepts ‘categoric assurances’ by the US Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, that Shannon has not been used ‘for anything untoward’ in relation to rendition flights.

While the Government maintains it has co-operated fully with a Council of Europe request for information on the issue, Ms Khan said today that the onus was on governments themselves to investigate the allegations and that countries should use their own national parliaments and independent mechanisms to find out exactly what has happened.