[JURIST] Portuguese Minister of State and Foreign Affairs Luis Amado [official profile] on Wednesday sent a letter [text] to European Union [official website] (EU) foreign ministers urging EU members to take in any detainees released from the US military prison at Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive]. Amado said that Portugal would be willing to take in detainees, and that other EU member states that support the closure of the prison should do the same. He wrote:
The time has come for the European Union to step forward. As a matter of principle and coherence, we should send a clear signal of our willingness to help the US Government in that regard, namely through the resettlement of detainees. As far as the Portuguese Government is concerned, we will be available to participate.
Amado sent the letter Wednesday to coincide with the 60th anniversary of the signing [JURIST report] of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights (UDHR) [text].
Rights groups have urged US President-elect Barack Obama to close the controversial military prison upon inauguration in January. Last month the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) [advocacy website] launched an ad campaign [image, PDF] calling on Obama to close Guantanamo Bay and end the use of military commissions on his first day in office. Also in November, Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] called upon Obama to denounce Bush administration counterterrorism policies [JURIST report] that they described as "abusive." Obama and his advisers have yet to reach a firm decision [JURIST report] on the closure of the facility.