For Immediate Release

Organization Profile: 

Brenda Bowser Soder
O -202/370-3323, C – 301/906-4460

Guantanamo Closure Remains Key to National Security

WASHINGTON -  Following today's White House announcement that detainee transfers
from the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba to Yemen are
temporarily on hold, Human Rights First President and CEO Elisa
Massimino issued the following statement:

"We welcome President Obama's continued commitment to closing
Guantanamo despite the decision to temporarily suspend transfers to
Yemen.  Every day that the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay remains
open provides grist for terrorist recruitment and undermines
cooperation with U.S. allies in counterterrorism efforts.  Closing
Guantanamo is a national security priority."

The Obama administration should press ahead in identifying third
countries willing to accept the Yemeni detainees cleared for release
and, at the same time continue to work closely with Yemeni officials to
address current security concerns and to minimize potential risk before
reinstating transfers there. With all transfers the administration can
and should take steps to mitigate risk by focusing on expanding risk
assessment efforts, monitoring, and other security programs, including
allotting of sufficient resources to successfully reintegrate former

"The detention facility at Guantanamo is a powerful recruiting tool
used by terrorists around the world to mobilize others to join their
cause. The events of the past two weeks underscore the need to starve
al Qaeda of this propaganda tool and should only strengthen the Obama
Administration's resolve to close this facility immediately.

"If we allow terrorists to take our eye off of the ball in closing
Guantanamo, they win. We should not be diverted from this national
security imperative."


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Human Rights First is a non-profit, nonpartisan international human rights organization based in New York and Washington D.C. Human Rights First believes that building respect for human rights and the rule of law will help ensure the dignity to which every individual is entitled and will stem tyranny, extremism, intolerance, and violence.

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