New York, NY – Today, the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) issued the following statement in response to the transfer of its Uighur client from Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, to the Government of El Salvador:
We applaud El Salvador for safely resettling our client from Guantánamo. We are deeply grateful for this profound humanitarian gesture.
El Salvador’s resettlement of men from Guantánamo marks the first transfer in more than a year – the longest period of time without a transfer since the prison opened in January 2002 – after enactment of the National Defense Authorization Act in 2011. This transfer is particularly important because it is the first time that any man detained at Guantánamo has been resettled in Latin America.
J. Wells Dixon of CCR said: “We encourage other countries in Latin America to follow El Salvador’s lead and safely resettle men from Guantánamo who cannot return to their countries of nationality for fear of persecution, including our client Djamel Ameziane whose case is pending before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.”
The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, an autonomous body of the Organization of American States, recently issued a landmark decision accepting jurisdiction over the merits of a complaint filed by Mr. Ameziane, an Algerian detained at Guantánamo for more than ten years without charge or fair trial, or a ruling on the merits of his habeas corpus petition. Mr. Ameziane’s complaint alleges human rights law violations, including failure to adequately determine his legal status, arbitrary detention without charge or judicial review, torture and other unlawful abuse, and similar harms.
We renew our request that the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights facilitate a dialogue between the United States and other countries belonging to the Organization of American States toward the safe resettlement of Mr. Ameziane and other detained men who require protection.
The practical reality is that indefinite detention at Guantánamo will not end unless the international community follows El Salvador’s example and offers safe homes for men such as Mr. Ameziane who cannot return to their countries of nationality for fear of persecution.
Nor will indefinite detention end as long as Congress and the Obama Administration continue to erect barriers to transfers for political purposes, including in particular President Obama’s blanket ban on transfers to Yemen.
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.