Fight for Human Rights – Tear Down Guantánamo Bay

 

Fight for Human Rights!

Fight for Human Rights – Tear Down Guantánamo Bay

Today, May 15th, is Bloggers Unite for Human Rights, in which thousands of bloggers will write thousands of blogs dedicated to preserving human rights. The issue I want to focus on today is the unjust activities happening at Guantánamo Bay.

Guantanamo Bay Information

The Guantanamo Bay detention camp is a United States operated by Joint Task Force Guantanamo since 2002 in Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, which is on the shore of Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.[1] The detainment areas consist of three camps in the base: Camp Delta (which includes Camp Echo), Camp Iguana, and Camp X-Ray (which has been closed). The facility is often referred to as Guantanamo, or Gitmo (derived from the abbreviation “GTMO”). The detainees held have been classified by the United States as “enemy combatants

Since the beginning of the War in Afghanistan, 775 detainees have been brought to Guantanamo, approximately 420 of which have been released. As of August 9, 2007, approximately 355 detainees remain. More than a fifth are cleared for release but may have to wait months or years because U.S. officials are finding it increasingly difficult to allocate places to send them, according to officials and defense lawyers.

Prisoners are held in small mesh-sided cells, and lights are kept on day and night. Detainees have rations similar to those of U.S. forces, with consideration for Muslim dietary needs. However on occasion many of the detainees have been denied access to the Quran for daily prayer, due to claimed “high security measures” and as a form of preparation for interrogation. Detainees are kept in isolation most of the day, are blindfolded when moving within the camp and are forbidden to talk in groups of more than three. United States doctrine in dealing with prisoners of war states that isolation and silence are effective means in breaking down the will to resist interrogation. Red Cross inspectors and released detainees have alleged acts of torture, including sleep deprivation, the use of so-called truth drugs, beatings and locking in confined and cold cells. Human rights groups argue that indefinite detention constitutes torture.

The use of Guantánamo Bay as a military prison has drawn criticism from human rights organizations and others, who cite reports that detainees have been tortured or otherwise poorly treated. Supporters of the detention argue that trial review of detentions has never been afforded to prisoners of war, and that it is reasonable for enemy combatants to be detained until the cessation of hostilities.

The Bush administration has declared that the Third Geneva Convention does not apply to al-Qaeda or Taliban fighters, since the Geneva convention only applies to uniformed soldiers of a recognized government. Jim Phillips of the Heritage Foundation claimed that “some of these terrorists who are not recognized as soldiers don’t deserve to be treated as soldiers.” Critics of U.S. policy say the government has violated the Conventions in attempting to create a distinction between “prisoners of war” and “illegal combatants.” A U.S. district court partially agreed with the Bush administration, finding that the Geneva Conventions apply to Taliban fighters but not to al-Qaeda terrorists. Amnesty International has called the situation “a human rights scandal” in a series of reports.

One of the allegations of abuse at the camp is the abuse of the religion of the detainees. The US government has claimed that they respect all religious and cultural sensitivities. However, prisoners released from the camp have alleged that abuse of religion including flushing the Qur’an down the toilet, defacing the Qur’an, writing comments and remarks on the Qur’an, tearing pages out of the Qur’an and denying detainees a copy of the Qur’an.

Suicides

By 2008 there had been at least 4 completed suicides and hundreds of suicide attempts in Guantanamo that are public knowledge. No information is available on the number of suicides of prisoners that are classified secret, or their suicide attempts. On June 10, 2006, three detainees were found dead, who, according to the Pentagon, “killed themselves in an apparent suicide pact”.

Facts:

1.) Lasting security and real justice for the victims of terrorism cannot be achieved without real justice and respect for human rights.

2.) Illegally detained in US custody at Guantánamo and elsewhere are not being released.

3.) Those held at Guantánamo and elsewhere, including in secret detention centres, are human beings who haven’t seen their homes or families for years and have faced torture and other ill-treatment.

4.) Indefinite and secret detentions are contrary to just human rights and are against international law.

5.) Each day that illegal detention at Guantánamo and elsewhere continues is a day too long.

Take Action

Tearitdown.org is Amnesty International’s global initiative to end illegal US detentions and a major online action under Amnesty International’s campaign to Counter Terror With Justice.

 

Take Action, Click Here!

For more on Bloggers Unite for Human Rights, Click Here!