Amnesty: Obama must reveal Guantanamo closure date


Seventh ‘anniversary’ of detention centre looms

AMNESTY International has called on President-elect Barack Obama to announce a date for the closure of Guantanamo Bay when he takes office.

Obama, who will be inaugurated as President on 20 January, had vowed to close the detention centre during his 2008 Presidential campaign.

This Sunday marks the seventh anniversary of the first transfers to the controversial detention centre.

Amnesty is also calling on the new president to support an independent commission of inquiry into human rights violations committed as part of the “war on terror” by or on behalf of the USA in order to ensure accountability and signal a fundamental shift in the USA’s counter-terror policies.

The new calls from Amnesty form part of its “100-day campaign”, where it will monitor Barack Obama’s first 100 days in office during which the organisation wishes to see concrete human rights reforms.

As well as the closure of Guantanamo, the human rights group are calling for a commission to investigate “war on terror” abuses and a Presidential order banning torture and other ill-treatment.

Amnesty International Secretary General Irene Khan said: “We are not asking the impossible. Barack Obama has already stated his determination to undo some of the wrongs authorised by the US government in the name of national security and we are asking him to turn this commitment into a reality.

“We welcome the prioritisation given to the issue of Guantanamo. The closure of Guantanamo would mark the beginning of a clean break from past detention policies, but only if it is done in a way that fully meets the USA’s international obligations.

“The devil will now be in the detail: there must be no re-creation of Guantanamo by any other name, in any other place.”

US Secretary of Defence Robert Gates has asked his staff to draw up plans for the closure of Guantanamo, which he expects to be a high priority for the new administration.

It has been reported Britain are in formal talks with the US over transferring some of Guantanamo’s prisoners here.



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