Ten years ago today, the first detainees arrived in Guantánamo. Between now and then, the detention centre has become more than just a symbol of human rights violations, but the site of crimes of torture and arbitrary, indefinite detention. Look at the figures provided here by the American Civil Liberties Union, a US-based organisation that focuses on civil rights.
As such, we have released a statement condemning the prison, requesting its immediate closure, and the trying or release of the current 171 detainees (note: no detainees have been released in the last year despite almost 90 being cleared for release).
The naval base and prison, which sits on less than 120 square kilometers of land at the southern tip of Cuba, is more than just a symbol of the continued human rights violations of the United States, but the site of “continuous crimes of torture and ill-treatment amounting to shocking human rights concerns,” says IRCT Secretary General Brita Sydhoff.
As today marks 10 years after the first detainees arrived at the base, the IRCT joins other organisations and human rights defenders around the world in calling for the closure of Guantánamo Bay, and either trying detainees or releasing them.
Despite President Obama’s pledge to close the infamous prison, two years have passed since his deadline, and there is no indication from authorities or Congress that they will do so. Instead, on 31 January 2011, Obama signed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which included an amendment that authorized indefinite detention.
“Rather than make good on his promise to close Guantánamo, the NDAA has codified the abhorrent practices in place for the last 10 years,” Sydhoff says. “This anniversary, the ongoing arbitrary detention of prisoners, and the complete lack of accountability for the crimes committed within the last decade speak to the failure of the U.S. and the Obama administration to live up to their human rights obligations.”
“No more unfortunate anniversaries should pass before the U.S. affirms its commitment to human rights, closing the doors on Guantánamo and bringing the perpetrators of crimes committed there to justice.”