Washington, D.C.— Uruguay has now received six Guantanamo detainees who the United States previously cleared for transfer. The move is a significant step in the decade-long effort to close the prison at Guantanamo. The prison has been widely condemned as a violation of international law for its brutal interrogation techniques and the prolonged internment of detainees without access to due process or trial.
“Uruguay has seen the human rights disaster that is Guantanamo and done something about it,” said WOLA’s Executive Director Joy Olson. “The Obama Administration needs the help of other countries. It would be an amazing act of generosity and commitment to human rights if other Latin American countries did the same.”
More than 50 countries have accepted former Guantanamo detainees. These countries include Italy, France, Spain, Germany, Ireland, Sweden, Bangladesh, Chad, Cape Verde, and Egypt. Of the 799 people sent to Guantanamo, 634 have already been transferred to other countries, including those just sent to Uruguay.
67 of the remaining 136 detainees have been cleared for transfer but have nowhere to go because of unsafe or unstable conditions in their home countries.
The U.S. Congress has repeatedly blocked the transfer of Guantanamo detainees to the United States. With Republicans taking control of the Senate next year, there could be additional restrictions. Nonetheless, the Obama Administration is moving forward to try to close Guantanamo, but it will need support from leaders in the international community to transfer detainees.
Ms. Olson also said, “Uruguay is showing important leadership in helping to end the gross injustice that is Guantanamo. This moment reminds me of something that Uruguayan political leader Wilson Ferreira, who himself lived in exile, once said, ‘You don't pay solidarity back, you pay it forward.’"
Executive Director, WOLA
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Communications Officer, WOLA
Image courtesy of Estrella Digital