by Maryam Ansar
In 2009 Barack Obama signed the executive order which guaranteed Guantanamo Bay would be shut down once and for all; it was his promise.
However, now in 2015, there is absolutely no sign of that happening any time soon. Whilst many detainees have been released since its creation, that is no indicator towards its ultimate demise; there still remain more than 100 prisoners within the walls of Guantanamo Bay. Despite countless efforts by human rights activists and those concerned with the overall lack of morality contained in the camp; there is no official plan to shut it down by the US government.
Guantanamo Bay Detention Camp was the result of a war on terror. A war which instils terror in the hearts of those who are detained within this notorious prison. Fight terror with terror; that seemed to be the maxim George Bush began his ongoing history of human right violations with. Many have witnessed the inhumane treatment detainees undergo in this prison. Many have also read the CIA torture report which evidenced the goings on at Guantanamo Bay; it documented torture of physical, mental and sexual natures. The findings allowed people to realise the true face of this prison and thus many more individuals joined the campaign to have it eradicated.
It seems, the main barrier in the way of Obama and the shutting down of Guantanamo Bay is Congress; Congress limits his powers as president and therefore Guantanamo Bay cannot be shut down. However, in essence, President Obama does have the authority to veto legislatures bought forward by Congress regards to Guantanamo Bay. Nonetheless, instead of vetoing these, he signs them, in consequence, allowing Guantanamo Bay to remain open. In such a case, Obama is seen to be at fault for hesitating to utilise his powers as president to address the issues of human rights abuses against detainees. Further yet, many believe that Guantanamo Bay provides safety to all from already existing threats of terrorism, and future threats of terrorism. The mentality seems to be, if possible terrorists are captured and detained, the risk of attack is lessened and security is increased; this is not at all true.
In defence of closing down Guantanamo Bay, President Obama has claimed in several instances, that he intends to close down the camp, as he believes it tarnishes the reputation of the United States, which it most definitely does. In order to move forward with the issue of Guantanamo Bay, the US must assess the likelihood of so called high risk detainees engaging in terrorist acts. As well as the legality of keeping mostly innocent individuals imprisoned with a lack of evidence that proves detainees’ links to terrorism. The CIA report is proof enough that the US, on the basis of likelihood and legality, or lack thereof, is guilty of many human rights abuses on detainees in Guantanamo Bay, without reason. And therefore Guantanamo Bay should be eliminated in its entirety.