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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

President Obama: 30 days left to meet AI human rights challenge

31Mar 2009 | Amnesty International

In November 2008 we urged President-elect Barack Obama, in his first 100 days in office, to take concrete steps to counter terror with justice. With 30 days to go, the record is mixed – we need another push.

By signing executive orders to close Guantánamo, suspend military commission trials, and taking substantial steps towards ending the CIA’s use of secret detention and torture, President Obama has made important moves in the right direction.

Nevertheless, in the first two months of the new administration only one Guantánamo detainee was released, and none was charged for trial in federal court, although the one “enemy combatant” held on the US mainland was. At the same time, the new administration has claimed broad authority to continue to hold detainees in the context of what, like its predecessor, it appears to regard as a global “war”.

Also, despite mounting evidence that torture and enforced disappearance were authorized and carried out by the USA over the past seven years, the new administration has not yet moved to support the establishment of an independent commission of inquiry and no criminal investigations have been initiated.

We need more change, not more of the same. President Obama’s next steps should be to:

  • Ensure that every Guantánamo detainee is charged with recognisable criminal offenses or released immediately
  • Ensure that those detainees who are charged receive fair trials in existing US federal courts
  • Ensure that an independent commission of inquiry into US abuses in the context of counter-terrorism is set up

These are part of Amnesty International’s Counter Terror with Justice checklist for Obama’s first 100 days in office. Visit www.obama100days.org today to support our call to President Obama before 30 April. Please pass it on to your friends and ask them to sign the petition .

Time is of the essence.

Thank you
The Counter Terror with Justice campaign team

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