President-elect Barack Obama: set a date to close Guantánamo

President-elect Obama has committed to closing the US detention centre at Guantánamo Bay. On the eve of the seventh anniversary of the first transfers to the facility, on 11 January 2002, Amnesty International is calling on him to go a step further and set a date for closure, promptly after taking office.

Activists around the world will take action this weekend and call on President-elect Obama to make sure this is the last ever Guantánamo anniversary. Activists dressed in the familiar orange boiler suits will congregate outside US embassies and in city centres from Finland to Peru.

Bringing an end to the Guantánamo detentions and the wider system of abuses that have been the hallmark of the US government’s counter-terror policies and practices over the last seven years must be prioritized by President-elect Obama. Amnesty International has launched a checklist of issues that it is calling on him to tackle within his first 100 days in office in order to begin to restore US compliance with international law.

Activists will also be urging other countries to facilitate the closure of Guantánamo by offering humanitarian protection to detainees who cannot be returned to their countries of origin for fear of torture or other human rights violations. A number of European Union (EU) states, including Germany and Portugal, have voiced support for the idea of accepting detainees in the EU.

Take action online to call on President-elect Obama to demonstrate a commitment to human rights in his first 100 days in office. His first steps should be:

Announce a plan and date to close Guantánamo
Ban torture and other ill-treatment as defined under international law
Ensure that an independent commission on US “war on terror” abuses is set up