Target: President Barack Obama
Goal: Close Guantánamo Bay and hold fair trials of detainees and violators of human rights
Five years ago, President Barack Obama signed an executive order to close Guantánamo Bay for good, but his administration has placed the detention center on the back burner. Many of the detainees residing there are in limbo, granted permission to leave, but cannot due to circumstances in their country or paperwork. With the detention center still functioning, it becomes a prime example of the United States’ double standard of human rights. While we urge other nations to commit to human rights, we hold hundreds of people in Guantánamo Bay without a fair trial.
Made during Bush’s administration, the military prison was established to detain highly dangerous prisoners, where they can be interrogated and prosecuted for war crimes. The establishment of the prison comes shortly after 9/11 attacks, where most of the prisoners are from the Middle East and a few from South East Asia and the horn of Africa. Abuse and torture has been reported by former and current inmates, but the Bush administration denied these allegations. While Obama recommitted his promise to close the prison, Americans have to continue to pressure him to keep his word.
The prison has been in operation for twelve years, and of the first 150 prisoners to arrive there, most have not had a charge or a fair trial. The military system that conducts the trials also does not meet international standards, another example of the United States’ double standard on human rights. Out of the 800 detainees that have been at Guantánamo Bay, less than 1% have been convicted by the military. Some detainees who have been granted permission to return home cannot because of the violent situation of their native countries. And even if the detainee’s native country is deemed safe, he/she could still be forced to remain in Guantánamo Bay.
Urge the president to keep his promise by closing the detention center and giving the detainees a fair trial. This also includes prosecuting those who committed human rights abuse at the facility. This place exists as a way to violate human rights, and it only tarnishes the United States’ reputation. As an American, I find it lubricious and humiliating that our country would force other countries to acknowledge human rights, but we violate them at home.
Dear President Barack Obama,
Five years ago you made a promise to the American public; you promised to close Guantánamo Bay. Since then, very little progress has been made to close this military prison, a prison known for violating human rights. Out of the 800 detainees who have been held at this cruel facility, less than one percent have actually been convicted of crimes. And those that have been granted permission to leave sometimes cannot, leaving them in a state of limbo.
As an American, I am appalled that our country can insist on other countries to acknowledge and recognize human rights, but we violate them here at home. Current and former detainees have confessed to acts of abuse and torture, allegations that the Bush administration denied. The military system of trials does not even meet international standards. This hypocrisy demeans us as a country and needs to be stopped. I demand for the immediate closure of Guantánamo Bay, a fair trial of the detainees, and to prosecute those who have violated human rights at the facility.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Kathleen T. Rhem via Wikimedia Commons