Six years of illegal US detentions
On the sixth anniversary of the US detention centre at Guantánamo, thousands of Amnesty International members and supporters are taking action around the world calling on the US government to end illegal detentions at Guantánamo and elsewhere. This anniversary is not just about Guantánamo. The detentions there are only one part of the unlawful detention policies and practices that the US government has adopted since 11 September 2001 in the name of counter-terrorism and national security. These include secretly transferring detainees between countries (“renditions”), holding them in secret detention sites and subjecting detainees to interrogation techniques and conditions that amount to torture or other ill-treatment. Amnesty International was one of the first to call for the closure of the Guantánamo detention facility. New voices have taken up the demand each year as more and more people have come to recognize the unlawfulness of the detentions. Today, more than 1,200 parliamentarians from countries including the UK, Japan, Israel, Bahrain and Germany, are joining Amnesty International in its call on the USA to end all its illegal detentions and either to charge detainees with recognizable crimes and bring them to trial in civilian courts, or release them in a way that guarantees respect for their human rights. As Amnesty International enters a year of activities to celebrate 60 years of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, we focus on what remains to be done in order to make the promise of universal, indivisible human rights a reality. Guantánamo is a symbol of injustice and abuse. Secret detention, torture, renditions, and indefinite detention without charge flout basic human rights principles and jeopardize rather than promote security. Justice for the victims of terrorism lies in full and open trials for anyone against whom there is evidence of involvement in such crimes. Justice for detainees and their families lies in full access to due process and remedies for human rights violations. Long-term security will not be achieved without justice and respect for the human rights of all. Today is not a day of passive remembrance but one for action: governments and citizens across the world should call on the US authorities to bring their detention policies and practices into line with international law.