The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release
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US: Grant Rights Groups Full Access to Guantanamo

Outside Review Needed to Ensure Transparency, Compliance With International Law


Four leading human rights and civil liberties organizations today sent a letter to President Barack Obama asking that they be granted full access to the Guantanamo Bay detention center so that they can review the conditions of confinement and make recommendations for revising US detention policies.

The American Civil Liberties Union, Amnesty International USA, Human Rights First, and Human Rights Watch have had permission to observe the military commissions at Guantanamo since August 2004, but have thus far not been allowed access the detention center.

On January 22, President Obama issued an executive order requiring a review of detention conditions at Guantanamo to ensure compliance with the Geneva Conventions and all other applicable laws. In the letter, the groups said that allowing them full access to the prison, "will be welcomed as another break from the prior administration's policies on detainees, and set an example that will help advance human rights worldwide."

Human Rights Watch is one of the world's leading independent organizations dedicated to defending and protecting human rights. By focusing international attention where human rights are violated, we give voice to the oppressed and hold oppressors accountable for their crimes. Our rigorous, objective investigations and strategic, targeted advocacy build intense pressure for action and raise the cost of human rights abuse. For 30 years, Human Rights Watch has worked tenaciously to lay the legal and moral groundwork for deep-rooted change and has fought to bring greater justice and security to people around the world.