For Immediate Release
On 10th Anniversary of First “War on Terror” Detainees' Arrival in Guantánamo, Passage of NDAA Revitalizes Detention Facility, Says Amnesty International
Human rights organization and other coalition partners to hold vigils, demonstrations and rallies to mark anniversary and urge President Obama to keep his promise to shut down the detention facility
WASHINGTON - Amnesty International USA’s (AIUSA) policy director for (counter) terrorism and human rights, Tom Parker, issued the following statement to mark the 10th anniversary of the transfer of the first detainees to the U.S.-controlled detention facility at Guantánamo Bay.
"Ten years on, we should be witnessing the closure of Guantánamo and the end of unlawful detention policies. Instead, we are marking this anniversary with profound disappointment that Guantánamo not only remains firmly entrenched in U.S. policy, but has been revitalized with the passage of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).
"There is plenty of blame to go around. Congress has worked diligently to block the President’s attempts to close Guantánamo, but the President has also failed to make the case to the American people that it must be closed. By failing to fight for the principles he articulated on the campaign trail, President Obama has encouraged his opponents to redouble their efforts to keep open Guantánamo.
"There can be little doubt that rejuvenation of Guantánamo is a catastrophe for the international reputation of the United States and for the promotion of human rights worldwide. Instead of putting an end to this symbol of the United States’ human rights failures, the U.S. government just revitalized it under new management."
Note: There will be a major demonstration at the White House on tomorrow beginning at noon sponsored by Amnesty International USA, Center for Constitutional Rights, National Religious Campaign Against Torture and Witness Against Torture at Lafayette Park at 12 p.m. on Wednesday, January 11, 2012. We are expecting anywhere from 600 to 1000+ people. A march from the White House to the Supreme Court afterwards with stops at Freedom Plaza, DOJ and the Capitol.
Around the world, AI members and others will be holding solidarity events. A few examples: Canada, activists will create a temporary art installation near the U.S. Consulate in Toronto and host a ten-hour musical event in Montreal; "happy birthday" cards will be delivered the U.S. embassy in the Netherlands and a giant detainee visual will be delivered to the U.S. embassy in Spain; activists will create a flashmob in France; and in Stockholm, Sweden, activists will enter a prison cell to sign a petition to President Obama as images are projected onto a nearby billboard.
We are people from across the world standing up for humanity and human rights. Our purpose is to protect people wherever justice, freedom, truth and dignity are denied. We investigate and expose abuses, educate and mobilize the public, and help transform societies to create a safer, more just world.