Join the UN and the New York Times in telling President Obama to close Guantánamo
Dear friends and supporters,
The prison-wide hunger strike at Guantánamo is now in its third month, and the need to put pressure on the Obama administration to address the prisoners' concerns is more urgent than ever.
As we have explained in previous articles (see here
), the prisoners started the hunger strike because of deteriorating conditions within the prison, but also because of their despair, eleven years after Guantánamo opened, of ever being released. Although 86 of the remaining 166 prisoners were cleared for release
by an interagency Guantánamo Review Task Force that President Obama established when he took office in 2009, they are still held because of bans put in place by President Obama himself, and also by Congress.
It is urgent that these obstacles are overcome, and to this end were encourage you to read "Get Serious About Closing Guantánamo," an opinion piece published in the Washington Post by Tom Wilner, the co-founder of "Close Guantánamo," which we posted here
, and also to read the latest article by Andy Worthington, the other co-founder of the "Close Guantánamo" campaign, entitled, "United Nations Heads Growing List of Organizations Calling for Closure of Guantánamo and End to Indefinite Detention
In this article, Andy applauded Navi Pillay, the United Nations' Human Rights Commissioner, for her criticism of President Obama's inaction, and her demand for urgent change, including the release of the prisoners cleared for release, and also applauded the editors of the New York Times for expressing similar views.
This kind of pressure is essential, and we encourage you to also play your part, by contacting President Obama, and defense secretary Chuck Hagel and demanding that they take action. Yesterday, 25 NGOs wrote to President Obama
, and issued the following advice, which supplements suggestions we have been issuing for the last few months:
- Contact the White House and tell President Obama that he must fulfill his promise to shut down Guantánamo. Call (202) 456-1111 or submit a comment online
. Tell him, “President Obama, there is an unfolding humanitarian crisis at Guantánamo. I urge you to act swiftly to fulfill your promise to close the prison by releasing the men you will not charge and by giving fair trials to those you will. You should appoint a high level officer in the White House to lead the closure effort, direct the Secretary of Defense to use his authority under the law to release men who will not be charged, and lift your own self-imposed blanket ban on sending Yemeni men home.”
- Contact Secretary of Defense Charles Hagel and demand that he use his authority under the law to resume transferring all of the men the Obama administration does not intend to charge. The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA 2013) gives Secretary Hagel the authority to certify men or issue waivers so they can be released from Guantánamo, and he must use this authority without further delay. Leave Secretary Hagel a message at the Department of Defense by calling (703) 571-3343 or by submitting a comment online
Thanks, as ever, for your support. If you can, please forward this to friends and family to ask them to join us
-- just an email address is required to be counted amongst those opposed to the ongoing existence of Guantánamo, and to receive updates of our activities by email.