April 11, 2013, New York and Washington, D.C. – As the hunger strike of men detained at the U.S. prison at Guantánamo began its third month, activists organized emergency rallies in over 26 cities and 19 states across the United States for a national “Day of Action to Close Guantánamo & End Indefinite Detention.” From New York City to San Francisco, Durham to Los Angeles, Witness Against Torture, Amnesty International, the Center for Constitutional Rights, World Can’t Wait, and other groups demanded the closure of Guantánamo. The actions came on a day that 25 prominent human rights and civil liberties organizations sent a joint letter to President Obama urging the closure of Guantánamo.
- Direct Secretary of Defense Charles Hagel to use his authority to issue the certifications or national security waivers required by the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA 2013) to effect transfers from Guantánamo;
- Appoint an individual within the White House to lead the effort to close Guantánamo;
- Make the case to Congress and the American people for removing the remaining transfer restrictions and closing the detention facility; and
- Ensure that all detained men are either charged and fairly tried in criminal court, or released to countries that will respect their human rights.
Zeke Johnson, Director of Amnesty International USA's Security with Human Rights Campaign, said, "Death shouldn't be the only way out of Guantánamo. The men must either be charged and fairly tried in federal court, or be released.” In response to the hunger strikes he added, “There are even detainees cleared to leave that remain stuck in limbo – people like Shaker Aamer, cleared under both President Bush and President Obama, and whom the UK government wants released. It's time for President Obama to get serious about closing the detention facility. Even with the Congressional restrictions on transfers, detainees can still be moved out under the certification process and the waiver provision that Congress put in place."
The Center for Constitutional Rights is dedicated to advancing and protecting the rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Founded in 1966 by attorneys who represented civil rights movements in the South, CCR is a non-profit legal and educational organization committed to the creative use of law as a positive force for social change.