For Immediate Release: January 10, 2012
Washington, DC – Tomorrow marks 10 years since the first detainees arrived at the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay. Ahead of that anniversary, Human Rights First President and CEO Elisa Massimino, a national leader in the effort to close the facility and bring those accused of terrorism to trial in federal court, issued the following statement:
“Guantanamo today remains a potent symbol of injustice and a stain on America’s reputation. Past violations of the Geneva Conventions at Guantanamo have marked it around the globe as the symbol of a great nation setting aside its laws and values for the sake of expediency. While conditions of confinement have improved substantially, many detainees continue to be held there unlawfully without having been accused of any wrongdoing, including some who have already been determined not to be a threat to the United States.
“On his second full day in office, President Obama gathered a group of retired generals and admirals in the Oval Office to witness his executive order to close Guantanamo. Three years later, the formula for delivering on this national security imperative is as clear as it is simple: the President must lead. This is the antidote to the politics of fear that have dominated the public debate about Guantanamo. The nonpartisan group of retired generals and admirals who stood behind the President continue to work with Human Rights First to ensure that U.S. counterterrorism policies uphold our ideals. If the President is serious about delivering on his pledge to close Guantanamo, he must confront the politics of fear and take action. He must continue to focus on transferring detainees out of Guantanamo and work with members of Congress to defeat any legislative attempts designed to keep the facility open or transfer new detainees there. The strategy is straightforward, but it requires political will and leadership. It’s time for the President to exercise both and make good on his pledge.”