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UN Human Rights Official Announces First Ever Guantanamo Visit

Updated: Aug 29, 2023

Peaceful Tomorrows joined several others in preparing a press release regarding the UN’s Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism, Fionnuala Ní Aoláin's, visit to the Guantanamo Bay Detention Center.


“For more than 21 years 9/11 victims and victims’ family members have sought justice and accountability for the crimes of September 11, 2002. September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows deeply appreciates the willingness of the Special Rapporteur’s office and the Biden Administration to work together to make her visit to Guantanamo possible. As 9/11 family members, we remain gravely concerned about the absence of justice within the military commission system. We welcome the commitment of the Special Rapporteur to the human rights of victims of terrorism and we hope that her work can inform a path forward to judicial finality for family members, the accused, and all those affected by 9/11 and its aftermath.”


Contact: Terry Rockefeller: terrykayrockefeller@gmail.com


For the full press release, scroll:


February 2, 2023

Dear Reporter, I hope you’re doing well. I wanted to make sure you saw that UN human rights and counterterrorism expert Fionnuala Ní Aoláin announced today that she will be visiting the Guantanamo Bay detention facility as part of a trip to the US beginning on Feb. 6. Ní Aoláin’s trip will mark the first time a UN rights official has been allowed access to Guantanamo since the facility was opened more than 21 years ago. Ní Aoláin – the UN’s Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism – will publish a report with findings and recommendations based on her visit and interviews with former detainees and family members of victims of the 9/11 attacks. Below, please see the UN’s media advisory, as well as quotes and contact info for experts from the ACLU, the Center for Victims of Torture, and September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows, who are available to provide additional comments and insights about the visit. All the best, Bryan Bryan Bowman Peace and Security Associate ReThink Media 617-688-2542 ******************* Scott Roehm – Washington Director, Center for Victims of Torture: “Credit the Biden administration for working with Ní Aoláin and her team to make this first-ever visit happen. U.N. Special Procedures are critical to holding the U.S. accountable to its international human rights obligations generally, and with respect to Guantanamo specifically. It will be important for the Special Rapporteur to assess, in particular, detainees’ conditions of confinement and access to appropriate medical care—including how those issues intersect with the military commission system—given the widespread prevalence of torture and trauma among the men who remain captive at Guantanamo.” Contact: SRoehm@cvt.org Hina Shamsi – Director of the National Security Project, American Civil Liberties Union: “We commend the Biden administration for agreeing to let a U.N. human rights expert visit Guantanamo, finally ending a shameful U.S. government moratorium that sought to establish a prison outside the reach of law. International human rights norms and institutions are integral to preventing the torture, indefinite detention, and unfair trials that now symbolize Guantanamo globally. It should never have taken two decades, but we’re encouraged to see the basic principle of U.N. rights officials’ independent access to all sites of detention and detainees respected at long last by our country.” Contact: Allegra Harpootlian: aharpootlian@aclu.org September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows: “For more than 21 years 9/11 victims and victims’ family members have sought justice and accountability for the crimes of September 11, 2002. September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows deeply appreciates the willingness of the Special Rapporteur’s office and the Biden Administration to work together to make her visit to Guantanamo possible. As 9/11 family members, we remain gravely concerned about the absence of justice within the military commission system. We welcome the commitment of the Special Rapporteur to the human rights of victims of terrorism and we hope that her work can inform a path forward to judicial finality for family members, the accused, and all those affected by 9/11 and its aftermath.” Contact: Terry Rockefeller: terrykayrockefeller@gmail.com https://www.ohchr.org/en/press-releases/2023/02/un-counterterrorism-expert-visit-united-states-and-guantanamo-detention





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