Administration to Appoint State Department Special Envoy on Guantanamo
New York City—Human Rights First welcomes news reports that the Obama Administration plans to fill the long-vacant position of State Department envoy for Guantanamo. The Washington Post has reported that Lee S. Wolosky, former National Security Council Director for Transnational Threats, will be appointed to take on the role of coordinating the transfer of those Guantanamo detainees who have been approved for transfer to other countries by the administration’s rigorous interagency process.
“We are thrilled to see the State Department envoy position finally being filled after a six-month vacancy,” said Human Rights First’s Daphne Eviatar. “This suggests the Obama Administration is serious about keeping its promise to close the Guantanamo prison before the conclusion of the president’s second term.”
Fifty-two of the detainees still held at Guantanamo Bay have already been cleared for transfer by all national security and intelligence agencies of the U.S. government and should be transferred without delay.
In the past year, the administration transferred 38 detainees from Guantanamo Bay, marking significant progress towards closing the prison. The vast majority of the remaining detainees who have not been cleared for transfer should face Periodic Review Board hearings without further delay. Human Rights First notes that the administration must increase the pace of transfers and these hearings if the prison is to be closed by the end of President Obama’s term in office.
“Wolosky appears to be a nonpartisan expert with a strong background in national security,” noted Eviatar. “His judgment in transferring detainees can be trusted by lawmakers across the political spectrum.”