In a footnote, the Court of Appeals said that it was expressing "no opinion on whether the Executive Branch
may ignore the immigration laws and release petitioners into the United States without the consent of
Congress." Certainly under international law, neither a country’s domestic laws nor its structure of government
may be invoked as justification for failure to comply with international legal obligations. All three branches
must work, whether in collaboration or independently, to ensure full respect for international law at all times.
The new administration can provide these men with the remedy the previous administration denied them.
On 22 January, President Barack Obama signed an executive order committing his administration to closing
the Guantánamo detention facility "as soon as practicable." Bringing the Uighur detainees into the USA, and
working to find lawful, fair, safe and lasting solutions in all their cases, would have the added benefit of
showing other governments, whose assistance the USA has sought and will again seek in resolving the
Guantánamo detainee issue, that the USA is prepared to play its part in bringing an end to the Guantánamo
detentions in a lawful manner, and "as soon as practicable," as President Obama has ordered.
See USA: Right to an effective remedy – Administration should release Guantánamo Uighurs into the USA
now, 19 February, http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/AMR51/023/2009/en. See also, USA: The promise
of real change. President Obama’s executive orders on detentions and interrogations, 30 January,
FURTHER RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send appeals to arrive as quickly as possible, in English or your
own language, in your own words:
- expressing regret at the Court of Appeals ruling overturning the District Court's order for the release of the
Uighur detainees detained indefinitely at Guantánamo for some seven years;
- noting that under international law, neither a country’s domestic laws nor its structure of government may be
invoked as justification for failure to comply with international legal obligations;
- noting that immediately releasing the Uighur detainees into the USA would end the gross violation of their
human rights entailed by their continued unlawful and indefinite detention;
- welcoming the local community support in the USA that has been pledged to help the Uighurs adjust to life
- pointing out that releasing the Uighurs into the USA can only send a positive signal to those governments
whose assistance the new administration will seek in taking released detainees who cannot be returned to
their home countries;
- calling on the US government, in the name of humanitarianism and justice, to release the Uighur detainees
into the USA immediately, and to work to ensure fair, safe and lasting outcomes for these men.
The Honorable Eric Holder, Attorney General, US Department of Justice, 950 Pennsylvania Avenue NW,
Washington, DC 20530-0001, USA
Fax: +1 202 307 6777
Salutation: Dear Attorney General
The Honorable Robert Gates, US Secretary of Defense, 1000 Defense Pentagon, Washington DC 20301, USA
Fax: +1 703 571 8951
Salutation: Dear Secretary of Defense
Gregory Craig, Counsel to the President, The White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC
Fax: +1 202 456 2461
Salutation: Dear Mr Craig
COPIES TO: diplomatic representatives of the USA accredited to your country.
PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY. Check with the International Secretariat, or your section office, if
sending appeals after 2 April 2009.