National Security

Amnesty International USA believes that governments should not violate human rights in the name of national security, and advocates for critical changes in US policy and practice.


Last updated on December 5, 2023

Take Action Now

2 Actions

By Time Commitment

  • Tell The US Government: Help Civilians Harmed By US Drone Strikes

    5 min

  • Urge President Biden: Close Guantánamo

    5 min


What is the problem?

On multiple fronts, the United States government is violating human rights in the name of national security.

  1. Muslim men have been held for years at the Guantánamo detention camp in Cuba without even being charged with a crime. Prisoners have been tortured and mistreated, without accountability. None have been given fair trials. Read more about Guantánamo here.

  2. The U.S. has used lethal force, including through drone strikes, in many countries, often in secret, leading to civilian deaths. Military operations have also exposed many people to toxins that have led to devastating medical conditions.

  3. Surveillance and targeting of Muslims – based on who they are, not what they’ve done – has fueled harassment, discrimination, and violence.

  4. The U.S. government has allowed officials to torture people through horrific techniques that violate U.S. and international law.

Why is national security a human rights issue?

By the numbers
Number of people deported under the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System program, without being convicted of any crimes, before it was dismantled

By the numbers
Number of protests Amnesty International USA held in the weeks after President Trump issued his first Muslim Ban

By the numbers
Number of people detained at Guantanamo in September 2023

Who is most impacted?

The Trump administration dramatically expanded the use of lethal strikes, including with drones, killing thousands of civilians and increasing the risk of unlawful killings. Amnesty International has documented large numbers of civilian deaths and injuries from air strikes that the US government refuses to acknowledge, including in Syria and in Somalia. Some of these killings may have violated international law, but the US military is keeping the evidence secret. Take action to tell the United States government to stop killing civilians.

Our research uncovers individual cases of people whose human rights are violated by US national security policies, and we campaign to secure their rights. We campaign to close Guantánamo and ensure accountability for torture. We are urging the Biden administration to transfer detainees out of Guantanamo and close the prison once and for all.

What is the solution?

Amnesty International helps expose and end national security policies that violate human rights. We’ve secured fair treatment for people in individual cases, we’ve helped force the government to release information about its activities, and we’ve played a key role in helping end practices that abuse human rights.

We mobilize grassroots activists to push for federal policies that protect safety and human rights together.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – SEPTEMBER 25: Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi arrives to address the 76th Session of the U.N. General Assembly at U.N. headquarters on September 25, 2021 in New York City. More than 100 heads of state or government are attending the session in person, although the size of delegations are smaller due to the Covid-19 pandemic. (Photo by Eduardo Munoz – Pool/Getty Images)

Press Release

India: Government Weaponizing Terrorism Financing Watchdog Recommendations Against Civil Society

September 26, 2023 – Narendra Modi