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           27 November, 2021

Category:  Press » Politics & Government


Thousands of Amnesty International Student Activists Launch National Week of Action to Close Guantanamo

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2008-03-30 05:02:16     
Amnesty International USA

Thousands of Amnesty International student activists from more than 1,600 high school and college campuses nationwide will sponsor events next week -- Monday, March 31, through Friday, April 4 -- calling on the U.S. government to close down the U.S.-controlled detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The events are part of Amnesty International USA's 11th annual National Week of Student Action during which activists raise public awareness of a pressing human rights issue.

"Students realize that today's human rights violations -- especially those perpetrated by their own government -- cannot be halted if they sit on the sidelines," said Njambi Good, Amnesty International USA's Denounce Torture campaign director. "This week of mobilization in support of fundamental liberties, and thereby against facilities like Guantanamo, is evidence that student activists will stand up for their rights and the rights of others."

Students will urge their Members of Congress to support Senator Tom Harkin's (D-IA) bill that would force U.S. officials to close the detention facilities at Guantanamo within 120 days and either charge or release the prisoners who are detained there.

"The United States must resolve to counter terror with justice, not with the tactics that maintain facilities like Guantanamo," Good added. "Anything less and we have surrendered American values to terrorism."

Events taking place include:

George Mason University (VA) students will detain volunteers in a mock cell. The volunteers will only be released after 50 people have signed a petition to President Bush calling on him to close Guantanamo.

At Georgetown University (DC), AIUSA activists will wear orange in solidarity with detainees and host a talk by Jumana Musa, AIUSA's advocacy director for domestic human rights and international justice, who has been an observer of the Guantanamo military commissions hearings since 2004.

AIUSA activists at the University of Texas at Dallas will host a week-long film series including showings of Road to Guantanamo, Rendition, and Ghosts of Abu Ghraib.

Background on Guantanamo:

In January 2002, the U.S. government began transferring prisoners to detention facilities on their naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. There are approximately 275 men from 30 countries currently being held, though at one point the detention camps held up to 775 men. The vast majority of the detainees have never been charged with any crime. None of the detainees have ever had the opportunity to challenge their detention in an independent court.

Though a small minority was picked up on the battlefield in Afghanistan, many more men were sold to the U.S. forces by Afghani warlords and Pakistani officials. Some were picked up in places like Bosnia and the Gambia, far from any battlefield. Some prisoners were rendered to countries where they report being subjected to torture before being brought to Guantanamo. Other prisoners spent years in secret CIA prisons before reappearing in U.S. custody in Guantanamo. Such policies have damaged the fabric of human rights, the fight against torture, and the United States' standing in the world.

For further information on the National Student Week of Action, please visit http://www.aiusa.org/nwsa or contact the AIUSA media office at 202-544-0200 x302.

Specialized in: Amnesty International - Student - National Week - Action - Guantanamo
URL: http://www.amnestyusa.org
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