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UK/Guantánamo: new all-party parliamentary group to call for notorious camp's closure

Protest in Washington in 2021 © Alli Jarrar/Amnesty International

‘By forming the APPG, MPs and peers are sending a strong message to the US administration’ - Sara Birch

A newly-formed group of parliamentarians is set to campaign for the closure of the notorious US detention facility at Guantánamo Bay and will have its inaugural meeting next week. 

The “All-Party Parliamentary Group for the Closing of the Guantánamo Detention Facility” - co-chaired by Layla Moran MP (Lib Dem) and Chris Law MP (SNP) - will meet at 17:30 on Monday 24 April in Committee Room 5 (Palace of Westminster) to launch its inaugural meeting.

At the meeting, the group of MPs and peers will hear an update on the current situation at Guantánamo, which still holds 30 detainees, 16 of them cleared for release but still detained. The meeting is expected to be attended by former Guantánamo detainee Mohamedou Ould Slahi.

Sara Birch, Convenor of the UK Guantanamo Network, said:

“It’s heartening that parliamentarians are taking a stand to call for the closure of the Guantánamo Detention Facility.

“By forming the APPG, MPs and peers are sending a strong message to the US administration that, after more than 20 years of detention without trial, it’s high time to end this affront to the rule of law.”

The new APPG will comprise the following members from both Houses of Parliament:

House of Commons

Layla Moran MP (Lib Dem)

Chris Law MP (SNP)

Sir Peter Bottomey MP (Con)                         

John McDonnell MP (Lab)                    

Caroline Lucas MP (Green)                            

Richard Burgon MP (Lab)

Rachael Maskell MP (Lab)

Andy Slaughter MP (Lab)

House of Lords

Helena Kennedy (Lab)

Shami Chakrabarti (Lab)

Sayeeda Warsi (Con)

John Hendy (Labour)

Guantanamo Network and Mohamedou Ould Slahi

The formation of the new parliamentary body has been supported over the past 12 months by a coalition of human rights, legal and campaigning groups working together with the UK Guantanamo Network. Their objective is to highlight to UK and US politicians the disastrous impact of Guantánamo on the rights of the remaining detainees, as well as the highly negative impact of the detention centre on the USA’s human rights record, as well as that of allied countries. 

This initiative was prompted by a major speaking tour in March 2022 by Mohamedou Ould Slahi, author of the best-selling memoir “Guantánamo Diary”. His incarceration and torture at Guantánamo featured in the 2021 film The Mauritanian, directed by Kevin McDonald and starring Jodie Foster, Tahar Rahim and Benedict Cumberbatch.

The UK Guantanamo Network is supported by numerous Amnesty UK groups and activists, by the Guantánamo Justice Campaign, the Close Guantánamo Campaign, the London Guantánamo Campaign, and Freedom from Torture. 


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