Within his first two days in office, US President Barack Obama has signed executive orders to close the detention facility at Guantánamo Bay within one year, suspend trials by military commission, close all CIA secret detention centres and ban the use of “enhanced” interrogation techniques that amount to torture and other ill-treatment. Read more.
Below are messages of congratulations and thanks from Amnesty International Australia's National Director and Amnesty International's Secretary General.
Just wanted to share the FANTASTIC NEWS that President Obama's first executive order has been the order to CLOSE Guantanamo Bay .
The President has also committed to end the illegal use of torture and close all overseas CIA detention centres for terror suspects.
He has ordered a suspension of military trials so that the legal process can be reviewed.
This is a result of years of hard work by millions of human rights activists around the world.
We will be sending out an email to all our supporters today to celebrate the news.
Please celebrate the change that you helped make happen.
From Irene Khan (Secretary-General, Amnesty International):
This is a moment of great pride and sense of achievement for all of us. Within 48 hours of taking office, President Obama has issued three Executive Orders: to close Guantánamo Bay, close CIA detention centres and prohibit torture and ill-treatment during interrogations. We are of course analysing carefully these documents to make sure that our concerns will be fully met through concrete action to follow up these orders. But right now, we have great cause to celebrate our momentous victory.
Amnesty International was amongst the first and the most vocal to campaign for the closure of Guantánamo Bay prison camp and we have been relentless in condemning the backlash against human rights generated in the name of the war on terror. Congratulations to all of you in our sections/structures and in the International Secretariat.
For me yesterday was a moment of great personal satisfaction too as I recall vividly that press conference where I demanded the closure of Guantánamo, kick starting our campaign amid huge media uproar. For all of us, yesterday was one of our proudest moments. As one movement, we stood up courageously, fought steadfastly and achieved our goal clearly.
What a wonderful way to begin 2009 and, in the hope that we will witness many such moments together, I send you my very best wishes to all of you for the New Year.