Today marks the twenty-second anniversary of the creation of the Guantanamo detention center.
Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns joined 96 organizations in a letter to President Biden calling for the end of the Guantanamo prison, and participated in a vigil outside of the White House to mark the anniversary.
Over the course of its shameful history, the prison held 790 men and boys, many of them never charged with a crime, in conditions that amount to torture. Over several dozen Guantanamo prisoners have attempted suicide, nine have died in custody.
At the beginning of his presidency, President Biden announced his intention to close the facility. While he has made some progress, transferring out 10 of 40 prisoners since he assumed office, his term of office ends in little more than a year, and the pace has not been nearly fast enough for him to meet his goal. President Biden has the authority to relocate the prisoners with or without Congress.
At the cost of over $500 million dollars a year for only thirty prisoners, Guantanamo is the most expensive prison in the world. The prison now holds 16 prisoners who have been cleared for release. Its continued operation connects the U.S. government to human rights abuses and torture in the eyes of the world.
Tell President Biden it is time to fulfill his promise to complete the work of dismantling Guantanamo, and work to repair this blot on the United States’ conscience.
Photo of the Close Guantanamo rally on January 11, 2024.