European Union – United States Summit: set clear plan of action to close Guantánamo

At their summit in Washington DC, European leaders must press the United States government to take steps to end the unlawful detentions at Guantánamo Bay, leading human rights groups said today.

“One year ago, at the 2006 summit, there was some progress towards closing Guantánamo, but the momentum now appears to have been lost. It is unacceptable that these violations of human rights have continued for more than five years – we need a plan of action with clear timelines to end detentions at Guantánamo, and next week’s summit is an opportunity to begin this work” Nicholas Howen, Secretary-General of the International Commission of Jurists, said today.

In the statement, Human Rights Watch, the International Commission of Jurists, the International Federation for Human Rights, the Center for Constitutional Rights and Reprieve outline a human rights agenda for addressing Guantánamo closure at the summit. The United States and the European Union should establish a co-ordinated plan to close Guantánamo, through a transparent and accountable process, and in a way that ends the violations of human rights of those detained there, the organisations say. The plan should provide for safe resettlement of the detainees on terms that comply with human rights, in the United States, or in third countries including European Union states.

The organisations also call on European leaders to insist on the restoration to all detainees of rights of habeas corpus and other remedies to challenge conditions of detention, treatment and transfer, and on the restoration of fair trial rights to detainees at Guantánamo and other United States counter-terrorism detention centres.

“Both Europe and the United States need to find ways to effectively combat terrorism, within the rule of law and with respect for human rights. A United States counter-terrorism system that evades these fundamental standards undermines effective and legitimate co-operation on counter-terrorism. The European Union should take the opportunity presented by this summit to restore credible counter-terrorism policies in which the United States, European and other states can co-operate, and in doing so, restore respect for basic principles of human rights and the rule of law.”

European Union-USA-close Guantanamo-non-judicial submission-2007 (full text, PDF)

see also European Union – United States Summit : set clear plan of action to close Guantánamo : press release

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