Human Rights Officers have arrived in Washington to inspect Guantanamo Bay. This includes looking for abuses inside the prison, ensuring basic standards of living are being met, among other issues within the walls.
Guantanamo Bay is one of America’s most controversial facilities where suspected terrorist are held. One of the primary controversies is that this camp is used to hold people indefinitely without trial which is not only a violation of US law, but international law as well.
Part of the reason Guantanamo saw these strict rules was because technically the camp was outside of US legal jurisdiction, meaning that the detainees were not required to retrieve the same treatment as they would inside the US. This is just one example of some of the arguments that have occurred over this camp throughout the years.
This visit comes after years of back and forth discussion on whether or not to continue to maintain operations in Guantanamo. The Obama administration had tried to get it shut down, but then met heavy opposition, Trump’s administration passed a law reinstating operations indefinitely, but the Biden administration has once again promised to shut it down.
With the human rights abuses in Ukraine, there has not been much of a focus on shutting the camp down. At the time of writing there are 34 detainees currently being held in Guantanamo. The maximum number the prison has held has been up to 780 people.
Many have been transferred, some have died, and of course there are 34 remaining people. Throughout the time that people have resided there, the prisoners have frequently claimed to be tortured and abused by the guards and personnel within the prison.
Although visits are not frequent, the UN Human Rights Council has frequently targeted Guantanamo as a place of wanton abuse, with some UN advisors calling it a “stain”.
In first few years of the Biden administration, there has been very little attempt to change the functionality of the prison or its running. With this visit however, UN envoys will likely encourage the US and the Biden administration to follow through on their promise of a cessation of operations.
The envoys will be taking a look at the prisoners, condition of the holding cells, food, and other facilities within the prison. If there are any findings, they will likely be reported to the UN and the US government.