For Immediate Release: February 24, 2009
Washington, DC – The Pentagon issued a report yesterday concluding that the conditions of confinement at the Guantanamo Bay detention facility comply with the humane-treatment requirements of the Geneva Conventions. The report was completed at President Obama’s request by Admiral Patrick M. Walsh, the vice chief of naval operations.
The following can be attributed to Elisa Massimino, CEO and Executive Director of Human Rights First:
“The Pentagon’s report on Guantanamo underscores the need for independent and transparent monitoring of detention conditions. For years, prisoners’ attorneys have detailed inhumane conditions of confinement at Guantanamo, including extreme isolation, lack of access to fresh air and natural light, limited access to attorneys, mental health deterioration, hunger strikes and the force feeding of hunger strikers. Though Human Rights First supports many of the improvements recommended in Admiral Walsh’s report, and encourages their implementation as soon as possible, Admiral Walsh’s findings stand in stark contrast to the real-time accounts of prisoners and their attorneys. We welcome the recommendation that President Obama consider inviting non-governmental organizations to Guantanamo, and we reiterate our request for full access to the detention facility so that we may examine the conditions there and, as improvements are made, credibly, independently and publicly report them to the world. Such access and reporting would set an example of transparency and inspire domestic and international confidence that the United States is re-committed to the humane treatment of prisoners in its care.”