4 Things We Can Do in 2013 to Close Guantanamo

January 17, 2013

Jan 11, 2013 Guantanamo anniversary protest
© Scott Langley Photography

2013 has been a busy year at Amnesty already. From protesting torture at the Washington, DC premiere of the film Zero Dark Thirty to people across the US and around the world spending January 11 (the 11th anniversary of “war on terror” detainees arriving at Guantanamo) marching against the continued human rights violations being committed by the US government, we have some real momentum to start the new year.

We still don’t have the outcome we all want — President Obama hasn’t ended human rights violations and hasn’t kept his long-standing promise to close Guantanamo prison. But we are making progress. We know it will be a long fight, but history shows that change can happen through sustained activism. Just last week the infamous Tamms “supermax” prison in Illinois closed after years of campaigning. Guantanamo will be next!

We can’t do it without you. Here are 4 things we can do to close Guantanamo and promote human rights in 2013:

1. Keep fighting the NDAA.

Once again, Congress passed and President Obama signed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) with provisions that deny human rights. Call your Representative and two Senators via the Congressional switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and let them know you want them to vote against Guantanamo transfer restrictions and indefinite military detention in the 2014 NDAA, and that the human rights of all people must be respected. Also, gear up for later this year when we battle for human rights in the 2014 NDAA!

2. Tell President Obama to charge or release Shaker Aamer.

February 14 will mark 11 years of imprisonment without charge or trial at Guantanamo for Aamer. The UK government says he should be free with his wife and children in London, and it appears that the latest restrictions on prisoner transfers wouldn’t prohibit his release — but still he remains at Guantanamo, indefinitely. It’s long past time to end Aamer’s cruel legal limbo — urge the US government to resolve Aamer’s case immediately.

3. Get the word out!

This spring, organize an educational event on Guantanamo in your area. Influence your members of Congress, harness the power of your local media, and recruit new activists to the cause – all using our new action guide!

Newseum Zero Dark Thirty projection action4. Don’t get discouraged. Get inspired.

We’re in this for the long haul. For inspiration, take a look at some of the amazing things Amnesty activists have accomplished in just the last few weeks. Projecting at the Newseum premiere of Zero Dark Thirty, raising awareness about the need for release of the Senate’s report on CIA torture. An Amnesty local group in California drawing media attention to their great January 11 Guantanamo protest. Other powerful January 11 demonstrations organized by Amnesty volunteers, staff and coalition partners around the world in places like Washington DC, Helsinki, Bremen (Germany), Lima, London, and Vienna.

Our voices will be heard. Join the fight — and with your help, we will continue our work in 2013 to close Guantanamo. We’re already off to a great start.