'Eight years ago, President Obama began his presidency by pledging to close the detention camp at Guantánamo Bay. He should end his presidency by fulfilling that promise.'
Margaret Huang, Executive Director of Amnesty International USA
It has been more than 15 years since the first detainees arrived at Guantánamo Bay detention centre, the US naval base in Cuba infamous for its shocking human rights record of torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment.
It's also been eight years since President Obama signed an order committing to end the detentions by 22 January 2010 at the very latest.
However, Guantánamo remains open and 45 people are still held there. Many of them are being held without charge or trial, and others face, or have already faced, military proceedings that are completely incompatible with international fair trial standards. Six are facing the possibility of the death penalty.
While this is happening, the perpetrators of widespread torture and ill-treatment against detainees are, time and time again, allowed to get away with their actions with little or no accountability.
Culture of secrecy
Since the first person was transferred to Guantánamo Bay in 2002, Amnesty has been campaigning for all detainees to be immediately released or charged with a recognisable criminal offence and given a fair trial.
But for eight years, the Obama administration has failed to address the detentions at Guantánamo as the urgent human rights issue that it is. Instead, its culture of secrecy and insularity has enabled international human rights norms to be routinely overridden.
Like you, we are horrified by the escalating violence and the civilian death toll in Gaza, Israel and the rest of the Occupied Palestinian Territories. We’re calling for an immediate ceasefire by all parties in the occupied Gaza Strip and Israel to prevent further loss of civilian lives. Amnesty International is investigating mass summary killings, indiscriminate and disproportionate attacks, hostage-taking, and siege tactics.
As ever, our mission to protect human rights remains. Please donate today to help expose war crimes and protect human rights. Thank you.