Administration Transfers 10 Guantanamo Detainees to Oman
Fewer than 100 Detainees Held for First Time Since Detention Facility Opened
Washington, D.C.—Human Rights First today praised the transfer of ten detainees from Guantanamo Bay, a move brings the detention center population below 100 for the first time since it opened in January 2002. Human Rights First also praises Oman for its humanitarian gesture in accepting the detainees. The organization notes that the pace of transfers must increase if the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay is to close by the end of President Obama’s term in office.
“This move is an enormous milestone in the effort to close Guantanamo once and for all,” said Human Rights First’s Raha Wala. “Our leaders have a moral responsibility to keep our nation safe and uphold the rule of law. President Obama and leaders in Congress should show the courage to work together in our national security interest so that America can once again become a nation that stands true to its ideals.”
The news comes just days after President Obama delivered the State of the Union address in which he reiterated his intention to close Guantanamo before the end of his second term.
Thirty-four of the 93 remaining detainees are cleared for transfer, and another 45 are eligible for Periodic Review Board (PRB) review.
Thirty-two of the nation’s most respected retired generals and admirals have urged President Obama to submit a plan to Congress detailing actions the administration will take to close the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay. Signatories to the letter are members of a larger group of retired military leaders who have long advocated for closing Guantanamo. Many of them stood behind President Obama on his second day in office in 2009 as he signed the executive order to close Guantanamo within one year.
Human Rights First notes that PRB reviews should have been completed for every eligible detainee over 3 years ago. Detainees who are not cleared for transfer, or who will face prosecution, will likely need to be transferred to the United States in order to close Guantanamo.
In a recent Human Rights First poll conducted by Harris Interactive, two-thirds of Americans agreed that detainees who have been cleared for transfer out of the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, should be sent to countries that have agreed to take them. The majority of Americans also agreed that the U.S. government can fight terrorism effectively without the Guantanamo detention center.
“If President Obama is serious about closing Guantanamo, it is essential that he deliver a plan to Congress outlining how he intends to get it done,” noted Wala. “This won’t happen without concerted effort from the administration.”