Guantánamo prison remains a threat to human rights
The Guantanamo Bay detention camp is a United States military prison located within Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, which is on the coast of Guantánamo Bay in Cuba. Since the inmates have been detained indefinitely without trial and several detainees have been tortured, the operations of this camp are considered to be a major breach of human rights.
The camp was established by President George W. Bush's administration in 2002 during the War on Terror. Barak Obama, promised to close the prison but he met strong bipartisan opposition from Congress, however, the number of inmates was reduced from about 245 to 41. In January 2018, President Donald Trump signed an executive order to keep the prison camp open indefinitely. Not only keep the prison open, but also “load it up with some bad dudes.” he said.
The United States government is violating human rights in the name of national security, often in violation of both U.S. law and international law. In a recent press release, Daphne Eviatar, director of Security with Human Rights at Amnesty International USA, said: “It is far too easy to imagine that Guantánamo will continue to serve as the site of ongoing human rights violations under a president who holds the cruel and erroneous belief that torture is acceptable. Those who are cleared must be transferred immediately, and all other prisoners should either be charged and fairly tried or released to allow this shameful institution to close permanently.”
Sixteen years have passed since the first prisoner arrived in Guantánamo Bay. Almost 800 men have passed through the cells of Guantánamo, originally fashioned as an “island outside the law” where terrorism suspects could be detained without process and interrogated without restraint. It is long past time for this shameful episode in American history to be brought to a close.
Closing Guantánamo requires ending indefinite detention without charge or trial; transferring detainees who have been cleared for transfer; and trying detainees for whom there is evidence of wrongdoing in the U.S. federal criminal courts. Federal courts routinely handle high-profile terrorism cases. If a prosecutor cannot put together a case against a detainee, there is no reason that person should continue to be imprisoned, whether in Guantánamo or the United States.
There was a rally in Washington, D.C.’s Lafayette Park to call for the closure of the prison. The protest came on the 17th anniversary of the opening of Guantánamo in the wake of the 9/11 attacks. Police arrested five activists for holding banners outside the Supreme Court, calling for an end to torture and the closure of the prison.
The military prison at Guantánamo Bay remains a stain on the human rights record of the United States and continues to present site for ongoing violations as long as it stays open.