President Obama Must Veto NDAA Legislation

Press Release
December 21, 2012

President Obama Must Veto NDAA Legislation

Human Rights Organization Pushes for Passage of Separate Legislation Ensuring Security for Afghan Women and Girls

Contact: Sharon Singh, ssingh@aiusa.org, 202-675-8579, @spksingh

(Washington, D.C.) –Frank Jannuzi, head of Amnesty International’s Washington office, issued the following statement in response to the final passage of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) in the U.S. House and Senate. The legislation will be sent to President Barack Obama for his signature:

“Unfortunately, the conference committee failed to do the right thing. It did not remove the provisions that would gravely hinder the closure of Guantanamo prison. These provisions include a one-year ban on funds to transfer Guantanamo detainees to the mainland United States, even for trial, andonerous impediments to the transfer of Guantanamo detainees to other countries.

“The U.S. government has a duty to ensure that the United States meets its obligations under international law to respect, protect, and fulfill the human rights of all people without discrimination, including the right to a fair trial and the right to be free from arbitrary and indefinite detention. Clearly, Congress abandoned this responsibility. President Obama must veto this legislation.

“President Obama must also keep his promise to close Guantanamo. Vetoing the NDAA will help him fulfill this pledge. The detainees must either be charged and fairly tried in federal court, or be released to countries that will respect their human rights.

“In addition, Amnesty International commends Senators Robert Casey (D-PA) and Kay Bailey-Hutchison (R-TX) for their introduction of the Afghan Women and Girl's Security Promotion Act, attached as an amendment to the NDAA. We applaud their steadfast support for the rights of women and girls in Afghanistan.

“The elevation of this critical issue during the NDAA was only the first step. Congress and the Obama administration must use the momentum and support for Afghan women and girls raised during the NDAA process to continue to push forward this critical issue and pass the Act at the next available opportunity."

Amnesty International is a Nobel Peace Prize-winning grassroots activist organization with more than 3 million supporters, activists and volunteers in more than 150 countries campaigning for human rights worldwide. The organization investigates and exposes abuses, educates and mobilizes the public, and works to protect people wherever justice, freedom, truth and dignity are denied.