There are dozens of detainees at Guantánamo from “high-risk” countries where there is a potential danger of persecution or torture should they be forcibly returned. At least 20 of these men have been “cleared for release” by the U.S. government – for some, years ago – yet they remain in Guantánamo. These men need to be resettled in the United States and third countries. However, until now, Albania has been the only country that has been willing to accept a small number of these men in need of protection. The humanitarian crisis that exists in Guantánamo should be approached like any other – with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the United States, and other countries creating and implementing a plan of action to end the indefinite detention of individuals in an extrajudicial prison.
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With changes in U.S. law ending any meaningful judicial review of the government’s treatment of detainees, the crisis grows even more urgent as the courts have refused to intervene to prevent the refoulement of detainees to countries where they are at great risk of persecution. The United States has already transferred detainees from Guantánamo to high-risk countries despite credible individualized fears of persecution or torture upon their repatriation. This paper briefly describes the issue and some of the men at Guantánamo who continue to be wrongfully detained simply because no country has offered them refuge.