For Immediate Release: January 10, 2013
Washington, DC – Tomorrow marks 11 years since the first detainees arrived at the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Ahead of this anniversary, Human Rights First President and CEO Elisa Massimino issued the following statement:
“Four years ago, President Obama campaigned on the promise of closing this emblem of injustice, and he has never backed away from that pledge. He should act now to demonstrate that he is serious about delivering on it,” Massimino said. “As the President’s nominee to lead the CIA, John Brennan, said ‘The prison at Guantanamo Bay undermines our national security, and our nation will be more secure the day when that prison is finally and responsibly closed.’ We agree. This is now a legacy issue for the President. Failure to close Guantanamo hinders America’s global leadership on human rights and provides an ongoing propaganda tool for America’s enemies.
“Congress has made it more difficult for the administration to deliver on this national security imperative. But the administration has already made progress, and there is a clear way forward. President Obama should start by appointing a high-level White House official charged with the responsibility to implement President Obama’s goal. And he should direct his administration to use the flexibility Congress gave him to transfer detainees out of Guantanamo who have been cleared by the relevant security and intelligence agencies.
“Closing Guantanamo has always been a matter of political will and leadership. Despite the hurdles, there is a clear path to closing Guantanamo during President Obama’s second term. He should recommit to doing so, and take all necessary steps to deliver on his promise.”
For more information, see Human Rights First’s Blueprint: How to Close Guantanamo.