09 January 2012
10 years on: End detentions at Guantánamo Bay


The sun sets on Naval Base Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, 11 January 2002. © US DoD


On 11 January 2002, in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, the first detainees were transferred to the US naval base at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. Since then, the detention facility there has made the world’s news headlines for the shocking human rights concerns associated with it - including arbitrary detention, secret detention, torture and other ill-treatment, renditions, and unfair trials.


Ten years on more than 150 detainees remain at Guantánamo Bay. The majority are in indefinite detention without charge or trial. Those who have been charged face unfair trial by military commission and some can face the death penalty if convicted. The government claims that even those found not guilty can be returned to indefinite detention. There has been essentially no accountability or redress for the human rights violations to which they and other detainees have been subjected.  


Human rights concerns in Guantánamo Bay remain an unfinished story. How long before the US government closes the book on Guantánamo and meets its human rights obligations?

Sign the petition! We will deliver it to President Obama before his 2012 State of the Union address on 24 January.


We call on the United States President Barack Obama to address the detentions at Guantánamo Bay as a human rights issue that requires urgent attention. 

•  Guantánamo detainees should either be charged and prosecuted in fair trials or released to countries that will respect their human rights, including into the USA if that is the only available option; 

•  The US military commissions, which do not meet international fair trial standards, should be abandoned, as should any pursuit of the death penalty;

•  Former or current US officials responsible for human rights violations must be held to account, including in respect of crimes under international law such as torture and enforced disappearance by bringing them to justice. Victims of human rights violations must be provided genuine access to effective remedy;

•  The USA must recognize the applicability of, and fully respect international human rights law, when conducting counterterrorism operations, including detentions in Guantánamo, detention facilities at Bagram in Afghanistan and elsewhere.

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