Coordinating Center Statement on Pres. Obama's Plan to Close Guantanamo

On February 16, seven years after his initial promise to close the facility within his first year in office, President Obama released his plan to close the infamous Guantanamo Bay Facility. The Coordinating Center at the US Human Rights Network joins our members who have been leaders in the fight to close the facility,t the Center for Constitutional Rights and Dr. Maha Hilal of the National Coalition to Protect Civil Freedoms in saying that this plan is too little, too late – particularly for the men cleared for release.  Further, the plan does not address accountability for human rights violations committed against detainees. To merely move the detainees to domestic prisons, while maintaining policies of indefinite and arbitrary detention does not address the fundamental human rights violations created by the facility. As our members have indicated, it simply moves it to a new ZIP code.

In the last two years, three international human rights bodies at the United Nations - the Committee Against Torture, Committee to End all forms of Racial Discrimination, Human Rights Committee - all highlighted the Guantanamo Bay facility and its practices as a pressing human rights issue that must be addressed within the next year. During the United States' Universal Periodic Review last year, thirteen countries called for the closure of the facility, investigating and holding responsible parties accountable for torture, and the immediate release or formal prosecution of everyone held at the facility.

We join in the demands for the immediate closure of the facility, to transfer the 35 men who have already been cleared for release, to give every man waiting for a Periodic Review Board hearing to receive one within the next year to have a chance at being cleared for release, the end of military commissions in order for detainees to be given the right to a fair trial, and that there be an independent thorough investigation and concrete accountability for those found responsible for human rights violations.

For more resources:

Center for Constitutional Rights

Op-eds from Dr. Maha Hilal of the National Coalition to Protect Civil Freedoms

(Image Credit: United Nations Facebook page)