Global Day of Action to Close Guantanamo and End Indefinite Detention – May 23, 2014
On May 23rd of last year, President Obama again promised to close the prison camp at Guantanamo. His pledge came in response to the mass hunger strike by men protesting their indefinite detention and to the renewed, global condemnation of the prison.
Since Obama’s speech, only 12 men have been released. 154 remain, nearly all of whom have never been charged with a crime. 76 were cleared for release by the US government years ago. 56 men are from Yemen, the largest national group at Guantanamo, but they remain subject to an effective moratorium on their release based on their nationality. No one from Yemen has been freed since the May speech.
Up to 40 prisoners continue to hunger strike, and many are being subjected to forced feeding — a practice condemnedby international human rights organizations, medical associations, and members of the US Congress. New lawsuits in US courts lay bare the extreme cruelty of the forced feeding at Guantanamo. To quell the public outcry against the prison, the US military in December 2013 stopped reporting the numbers of hunger strikers. More recently, it has classified their protest, in Orwellian fashion, as “long term non-religious fasting.”
During his May, 2013 speech, President Obama asked the American people: “Look at the current situation, where we are force-feeding detainees who are being held on a hunger strike . . . Is this who we are?”
Sadly, as we face yet another broken promise, this is what the United States remains — a country that continues to indefinitely detain and brutalize the men at Guantanamo.
Grassroots activists, human rights organizations, and advocates for the detained men call on people throughout the United States and the world to hold President Obama to his promise by taking action. Together, we say “Not another broke promise! Not another day in Guantanamo!”
So far, demonstrations, fasts, and vigils are planned in Chicago, Raleigh, New York City, Washington D.C., Baltimore, Buffalo, and Boston. Details about the local actions (including a toolkit for how to plan your own) and other resources will be available soon at www.witnesstorture.org. Please email WitnessTorture@gmail.com if you are planning or hoping to plan an action your community.