Obama Urged to Make Closing Guantanamo a Priority in Final Year

Washington, D.C.—Following President Obama’s final State of the Union address, Human Rights First urges the president to prioritize advancing human rights during the final months of his administration. Specifically, the organization urges President Obama to make good on his long-standing commitment to shutter the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba by releasing his plan to do so.

“It is encouraging to hear President Obama again reiterate his intention to close Guantanamo,” said Human Rights First’s Sharon Kelly McBride. “But as the president enters the final year of his presidency, the time for simply making promises is over; unless the president takes concrete action, this failures will forever mar his legacy.”

In tonight’s address, President Obama stated, “I will keep working to shut down the prison at Guantanamo: it’s expensive, it’s unnecessary, and it only serves as a recruitment brochure for our enemies.” This comes hours after the administration announced plans to transfer ten detainees out of the facility on Thursday, a move that would bring the detention facility’s population to 93 and bring it below 100 for the first time since Guantanamo opened in January 2002. Once the 10 transfers are completed, 34 of the 93 remaining detainees will be cleared for transfer, and another 45 are eligible for Periodic Review Board (PRB) review. The president is reportedly preparing to release a plan to Congress that would outline how he intends to close Guantanamo by the end of his term in office.


Published on January 12, 2016


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