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Northern Ireland campaigners say 'we don't expect impossible' from Obama, but end to Guantanamo and torture needed

As part of a new "100-day campaign”, Amnesty International in Northern Ireland has today (16 January) launched a powerful new online “viral” film on expectations around the incoming government of Barack Obama.

The two-minute film (available at ) wittily shows how there are very high expectations of what the new US president can do when he takes office, while also insisting that publishing a plan for closing Guantánamo Bay, banning torture and allowing an inquiry into human rights abuses in the “war on terror” are achievable and absolutely necessary.

The film urges people in Norrthern Ireland and internationally to take action by signing a petition to the new president via

The “We Don’t Expect The Impossible” film shows a presidential figure walking in a park flanked by advisers and security officials while meeting members of the public. He is shown casually and miraculously solving the international financial crisis, stopping global warming, achieving full nuclear disarmament and world peace, and even defending the earth from damage from falling meteorites.

The voice-over at the end (by acclaimed actor Patrick Stewart) then says that Amnesty and the international community “do not expect miracles” from the new president, but they do want to concrete changes on Guantánamo, torture and secret detention.

Amnesty has issued a new “checklist” of demands on these topics to the incoming administration and will be monitoring progress during the first 100 days of the President Obama’s time in office.

Amnesty International's Northern Ireland programme director Patrick Corrigan said:

“As our film shows, Amnesty supporters in Northern Ireland and around the world are not asking for the impossible from Barack Obama - just that the USA makes a clean break with its recent past and begins to stand up for human rights.

“We have heard Obama's welcome words pledging to close Guantánamo but, as President, he needs to publish a clear timetable over how and when this travesty of justice will be brought to an end.

“Meanwhile, the new president should issue a presidential order completely banning torture and allow an inquiry into torture and other such abuses.”

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