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Home / Press Release / Five Guantanamo Detainees Transferred to the United Arab Emirates
November 16, 2015

Five Guantanamo Detainees Transferred to the United Arab Emirates

Washington, D.C.—Human Rights First today praises the transfer of five detainees from Guantanamo Bay to the United Arab Emirates, but notes that the pace of transfers must increase if the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay is to close by the end of President Obama’s term in office. Today’s transfer comes as the Obama Administration is expected to imminently release a plan detailing steps it will take to close Guantanamo Bay.

“Transferring these detainees to the United Arab Emirates is a welcome sign of progress, but the fact remains that there are still far too many men languishing at Guantanamo Bay, including dozens who have already been cleared for transfer,” said Human Rights First’s Raha Wala. “Congress must work with the Obama Administration to bring this shameful symbol to a close.”

There are 107 detainees at the detention facility in Guantanamo Bay. Military leaders and national security experts agree that the facility harms national security and should be closed. Forty-eight of the remaining detainees are cleared for transfer, and another 48 are eligible for Periodic Review Board (PRB) PRB review

Last week 32 of the nation’s most respected retired generals and admirals urged President Obama to submit a plan to Congress detailing actions the administration will take to close the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay. Signatories to the letter are members of a larger group of retired military leaders who have long advocated for closing Guantanamo. Many of them stood behind President Obama on his second day in office in 2009 as he signed the executive order to close Guantanamo within one year.

Human Rights First notes that PRB reviews should have been completed for every eligible detainee over 3 years ago. Detainees who are not cleared for transfer, or who will face prosecution, will likely need to be transferred to the United States in order to close Guantanamo. 

“The government of the United Arab Emirates deserves praise for working with the Obama Administration to accept these detainees,” noted Wala. “This is now a legacy issue for President Obama. If he doesn't close Guantanamo Bay, that failure will be forever associated with his presidency.”

Human Rights First’s plan to close Guantanamo is outlined in its latest Blueprint: How to Close Guantanamo.

For more information or to speak with Wala contact Corinne Duffy at DuffyC@humanrightsfirst.org or 202-370-3319