Obama Urged to Release Plan to Close Guantanamo on Anniversary of Executive Order

Washington, D.C.—To mark the seventh anniversary of the executive order to close Guantanamo Bay, Human Rights First calls on President Obama to release a plan to Congress that details steps his administration would take to shutter the detention facility once and for all.

“In 2009 President Obama signed an executive order that affirmed his commitment to closing Guantanamo; if he fails to follow through on this issue of national security, his legacy will be forever tarnished,” said Human Rights First’s Raha Wala. “Guantanamo is a propaganda tool for our enemies and makes cooperation with our allies difficult. It must be closed.”

Human Rights First 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.

Yesterday two detainees were transferred to the Balkans; last week ten detainees were transferred, a move that brought the detention facility’s population below 100 for the first time since Guantanamo opened in January 2002. Thirty-six of the remaining detainees are cleared for transfer, and another 44 are eligible for Periodic Review Board (PRB) review.

During his State of the Union address last week President Obama reiterated his commitment to shutter the detention facility Guantanamo Bay.

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.

“President Obama knows that closing Guantanamo is in our national security interest,” said Wala. “Now he needs to act.”

Human Rights First’s plan to close Guantanamo is outlined in its latest Blueprint: How to Close Guantanamo.


Published on January 22, 2016


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