Amnesty urges Obama to close Guantánamo


Amnesty International has urged US president-elect Barack Obama to make human rights central to his new administration and to close the detention centre at Guantánamo.

The human rights organisation called on the new government to take “concrete steps in its first 100 days” that show genuine commitment to bringing the USA into line with its international obligations.

Secretary general of Amnesty, Irene Khan, said the new president must make a clean break from the current administration’s detention policies and practices.

“Millions of people, politicians and religious leaders in the United States and across the world are demanding these changes. Now is the time to make them happen,” she said.

Amnesty called on Mr Obama to, within his first 100 days, announce a plan and date for the closure of the detention centre at Guantánamo and to issue an executive order to ban torture and other ill-treatment, as defined under international law.

It also urged him to set up an independent commission to investigate abuses committed by the USA in its ‘war on terror’.

The organisation said the president-elect also needed to push forward policies that would advance internationally recognised human rights, and provide “principled leadership” in stopping mass atrocities in places such as Darfur.

Colm O’Gorman, executive director of Amnesty International Ireland said the Irish Government had recently indicated its intention to raise much the same issues with the new administration and that “now we need to see action”.