Amnesty International has released a new report highlighting ongoing and historic human rights violations at the Guantánamo Bay detention facility, as detentions there enter their 20th year and as a new President prepares to enter the White House.
“This is about more than just the 40 people still held at Guantánamo – it is also about the crimes under international law committed over the past 19 years and the continuing lack of accountability for them. It is about the future, too, as we move towards the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks and strive for enduring justice,” said Daphne Eviatar, Director of the Security with Human Rights Program at Amnesty International USA.
The report documents a catalogue of human rights violations perpetrated against those detained at the camp, where victims of torture are held with inadequate medical care indefinitely and in the absence of fair trials. Transfers out of the facility have stalled, and even those cleared for release have remained incarcerated for years on end. Detentions at Guantánamo began out of the decision to frame the U.S.’s response to the 9/11 attacks as a “global war on terror,” bypassing human rights protections in the pursuit of intelligence gathering. Crimes under international law such as torture and enforced disappearance were committed against detainees deliberately held out of reach of judicial scrutiny at secret facilities operated by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in other countries or in Guantánamo. The report calls for renewed urgency on this issue, accompanied by a genuine commitment to truth, accountability and remedy, as well as a recognition that indefinite detention at Guantánamo must not be allowed to persist any longer.
“These are detentions that are inescapably bound up with multiple layers of unlawful government conduct over the years – secret transfers, incommunicado interrogations, forced feeding of hunger strikers, torture, enforced disappearance, and a complete lack of due process” said Daphne Eviatar.
Speaking at the Munich Security Conference in 2009, Vice President, now President-elect, Joe Biden told his audience: “We will uphold the rights of those who we bring to justice. And we will close the detention facility at Guantánamo Bay.” He emphasized that the “treaties and international organizations we build must be credible and they must be effective.” A dozen years later, as he prepares to become President, he has an opportunity to live up to those words. He should seize it.
For more information or to arrange an interview, contact Mariya Parodi: [email protected]