UN experts called Tuesday for the Biden administration to address the ongoing violations of human rights in its review of how to close Guantanamo Bay.
Guantanamo was originally used to house foreign terrorist suspects in the wake of the 9/11 attacks. Currently, there are about 40 detainees remaining at the facility. The UN has previously called for the closure of this detention facility to no avail.
UN experts have indicated that the remaining detainees are “vulnerable and now elderly individuals whose physical and mental integrity has been compromised by unending deprivation of freedom and related physical and psychological torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.” The experts also emphasized the importance that those “subjected to enforced disappearance, arbitrary detention, torture and denied fundamental rights under international law, including the right to a fair trial,” be provided with adequate remedies.
The UN experts expressed:
Many of the individuals currently and previously held at Guantanamo Bay have spent the bulk of their lives in a Kafkaesque situation where the rule of law was meaningless and the coercive and brutal power of the State ascendant. Democracies can and should do better and the United States must clearly put this dark chapter in its history behind it and demonstrate that it is not only prepared to close the prison facilities but ensure that such practices cannot be used again, and that the crimes committed there will not remain unpunished.
President Joe Biden announced earlier this month that his administration would study how it could shut down Guantanamo Bay, an effort that was initially proposed by former president Barack Obama.