Title

USA: Right the Wrong Decision Time on Guantanamo

Author Information

Amnesty International

Date of Publication

2021 12:00 AM

Security Theme

Human Rights

Keywords

protection from discrimination, protection from harm, fair treatment, fair treatment from law enforcement, proper prison conditions, protection against violence

Description

This report returns to the detention facility at the US naval base in Guantánamo Bay as detentions there enter their 20th year and as a new President prepares to enter the White House and become its fourth incumbent during the lifetime of this prison. Each of his three predecessors stamped their policy preference on the issue. But even as administration policy changed from ‘locate a detention facility and fill it’, to ‘review the detentions and close the prison’, to ‘keep it open and prepare it to receive more detainees’, the ghost at the table has been international human rights law – ignored under a ‘law of war’ framework defended by each administration of the past 19 years. Speaking at the Munich Security Conference in February 2009, then Vice President Joe Biden told the audience that “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 enter the White House as President, he has an opportunity to live up to those words. He should seize it. A new urgency and energy are needed, accompanied by a genuine commitment to truth, accountability and remedy, and a recognition that this issue must not be allowed to drift any longer. Although reducing the number of detainees at Guantánamo, the Obama administration allowed the detentions to become mired in bureaucracy and bogged down in partisan politics. And although things had shifted since President Bush asserted that allegations of ill-treatment were made by people who “just don’t know what they’re talking about” , accountability for human rights violations was still put to one side under President Obama; effectively, “we tortured some folks” but we must move on

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Jan 1st, 12:00 AM

USA: Right the Wrong Decision Time on Guantanamo

This report returns to the detention facility at the US naval base in Guantánamo Bay as detentions there enter their 20th year and as a new President prepares to enter the White House and become its fourth incumbent during the lifetime of this prison. Each of his three predecessors stamped their policy preference on the issue. But even as administration policy changed from ‘locate a detention facility and fill it’, to ‘review the detentions and close the prison’, to ‘keep it open and prepare it to receive more detainees’, the ghost at the table has been international human rights law – ignored under a ‘law of war’ framework defended by each administration of the past 19 years. Speaking at the Munich Security Conference in February 2009, then Vice President Joe Biden told the audience that “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 enter the White House as President, he has an opportunity to live up to those words. He should seize it. A new urgency and energy are needed, accompanied by a genuine commitment to truth, accountability and remedy, and a recognition that this issue must not be allowed to drift any longer. Although reducing the number of detainees at Guantánamo, the Obama administration allowed the detentions to become mired in bureaucracy and bogged down in partisan politics. And although things had shifted since President Bush asserted that allegations of ill-treatment were made by people who “just don’t know what they’re talking about” , accountability for human rights violations was still put to one side under President Obama; effectively, “we tortured some folks” but we must move on