Contact: Sharon Singh, [email protected], 202-509-8194
(Washington D.C.) — Following the passage in the U.S. House of Representatives, the expected passage in the U.S. Senate, and President Obama’s reported decision not to veto the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), Tom Parker, policy director (counter) terrorism and human rights at Amnesty International USA, issued the following statement:
"The NDAA enshrines the war paradigm that has eroded the United States’ human rights record and served it so poorly over the past decade as the country’s primary counterterrorism tool.
In doing so, the NDAA provides a framework for 'normalizing' indefinite detention and making Guantanamo a permanent feature of American life.
"This legislation establishes a two-track system of justice by distinguishing between U.S. persons (citizens and resident aliens) and foreign nationals – a betrayal of the most fundamental principle of justice and equality before the law.
"This bill also creates a tangle of competing counterterrorism jurisdictions that no one in Washington seems to understand. Law enforcement agencies have a strong record countering terrorism since the 9/11 attacks and this new legislation will inevitably hobble their efforts.
"By withdrawing his threat to veto the NDAA, President Obama has abandoned yet another principled position with little or nothing to show for it. Amnesty International is appalled – but regrettably not surprised."
Amnesty International encourages people around the world to voice their opposition to Guantanamo, indefinite detention and military commissions on January 11, 2012 — the 10 year anniversary of the detention facility and the National Day of Action Against Guantanamo. Sign up at www.amnestyusa.org/jan11.
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.
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For more information, please visit: www.amnestyusa.org.