April 11, 2013, New York and Washington, D.C. – Today, 25 prominent human rights and civil liberties organizations sent a joint letter to President Obama urging the swift closure of Guantánamo and steps to end the hunger strike legally and humanely and end more than 11 years of indefinite detention. The organizations include the Center for Constitutional Rights, American Civil Liberties Union, Amnesty International, Center for Victims of Torture, Human Rights First, Human Rights Watch, International Federation for Human Rights, National Lawyers Guild, Physicians for Human Rights, the Center for Justice and International Law, and Reprieve. Today also marked a national emergency day of action to close Guantánamo, with events planned by several of the groups in 20 cities and 15 states.
We urge you to order the relevant authorities to take swift measures to humanely and lawfully address the immediate causes of the hunger strike in a manner consistent with international standards of medical ethics before irreparable harm occurs to the prisoners. Moreover, we urge you to take steps to address the root of the problem by fulfilling your promise to close Guantánamo without further delay. To that end, we ask that you:1) 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.2) Appoint an individual within your Administration to lead the effort to close Guantánamo.