Concerned about the humanitarian situation of detainees in the Guantanamo Bay military prison, Freedom House today urged U.S. authorities to “take concrete steps” to close the facility in Cuba. U.S. President Barack Obama previously made a commitment to close the facility, but had not done so.
Freedom House, the independent watchdog, monitors the status of freedom around the world, and says some of the current detainees have not been accused of any crime, and some have been cleared for release, although they have not been released. 86 of those are now engaged in a hunger strike.
It has been reported that of the 166 known detainees currently in the facility, 130 are on hunger strike, and many are being force-fed through feeding tubes – a violation of international law, according to the UN.
“The United States must hold itself to the same standard that it expects of others. This includes respecting the right of every individual to due process and protection from indefinite detention. Congress needs to work with the president to come up with a solution that is safe and protects American interests while respecting international law.” – David J. Kramer, president of Freedom House
Former Guantanamo Bay chief military prosecutor, Morris Davis, who resigned in 2007, said conditions at Guantanamo were humane, but he resigned over the waterboarding and interference by the Department of Defense.
Davis has urged president Obama to close the facility.
Detainees in the Guantanamo Bay detention camp are are held there indefinitely, without charge or trial. Since the facility opened in January 2002, 779 men have been held in the camp. Freedom House says that number includes more than 20 minors who have not been treated in accordance with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, to which the U.S. is a signatory.