Washington, August 2, 2011 –
The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) approved a Resolution today regarding the situation of the detainees at the U.S. Naval Base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The resolution urges the State to close the detention facility without delay and to arrange for the trial or release of the detainees.
The Commission again concludes that the failure of the United States to give effect to the Commission’s precautionary measures has resulted in irreparable harm to the fundamental rights of the detainees at Guantanamo Bay.
The United States has recognized the detainees’ right to judicial review of the basis for their ongoing deprivation of liberty. However, the U.S. courts generally defer to the Executive in the course of these reviews, which renders the right illusory.
“Once again, the Commission urges the United States to close the Guantanamo Bay facility without delay and arrange for the trial or release of the detainees,” the Resolution states. It specifies that the trials must be conducted expeditiously, while respecting the defendants’ rights to due process and to all of the judicial guarantees.
The Commission also urges the United States to reveal the identities of those detainees who have been cleared for transfer and to ensure that they and all similarly-situated detainees are afforded an adequate, individualized examination of the factual basis for their transfer to a particular country before an independent and impartial decision-maker.
In its Resolution, the Commission insists on the importance of conducting a visit to the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay and being able to freely interview any person detained there. The U.S. government has invited the IACHR to visit Guantanamo in the past, but it indicated that personal interviews with the detainees would not be permitted, a condition that the Inter-American Commission does not accept.
A principal, autonomous body of the Organization of American States (OAS), the IACHR derives its mandate from the OAS Charter and the American Convention on Human Rights. The Inter-American Commission has a mandate to promote respect for human rights in the region and acts as a consultative body to the OAS in this matter. The Commission is composed of seven independent members who are elected in an individual capacity by the OAS General Assembly and who do not represent their countries of origin or residence.
Resolution 2/11 Regarding the Situation of the Detainees at Guantanamo Bay, United States, Precautionary Measures 259-02