Guantanamo Bay is infamous as a detainee prison that holds terror suspects without trial for indefinite periods of time. This U.S naval base located in South East Cuba has had over 700 inmates since its inception by former U.S president George Bush.
Human rights activists have been at the forefront demanding its closure and subsequent release of peoples of various nationalities. The most recent commitment to this cause has received a major boost from president Obama as he assured his commitment to shutting down the facility.
The process is not as straightforward as many would like to view it. The rule of law needs to be upheld at all times. Detainees potentially deemed to be a threat to national security and have to be kept under vigilant watch. Keeping them behind bars without trial however undermines their liberty and ultimately violates their basic rights.
Population at the facility reached an important milestone- under 100 as prisoners have been released over time and sent to different countries and other military bases. If the policy continues under President Obama’s watch, the problem is certain to take a quick demise. The worst that can happen is for the costly menace to be transferred to another president- Obama’s term is near its end.
Legal avenues to deal with this complex issue have long advocated for by those that recommend its closure. A country like the US needs to instill a sense of moral obligation to the world as a benchmark that will be followed by others seeking peace and security.
Action meant to stem violation of human rights needs to go beyond the signing of an executive order. To affirm the president’s commitment to timely action, a well laid out plan needs to be clearly set and its recommendations followed without fail. There are those that oppose its closure and have valid reasons for their stand but greater global interests prevail.
It costs hundred of millions of dollars each year to maintain the facility so the financial implication is a real thorny issue.
Repatriation to one’s home country is indeed a dream come true especially for inmates held over a decade without charge or trial. Other countries can receive their nationals as was the case with the recent release of 10 Yemenis to Oman in January 2016. Such gestures if upheld now and in the future could end up solving the Guantanamo Bay crisis as we know it.