January 11, 2014 marks the 12th anniversary of the arrival of the first detainees at the Guantánamo Bay detention center. Such an anniversary is an appropriate time to reflect on the commitment President Barack Obama made to closing the detention facility and press for greater progress toward this ultimate goal.
On October 17–18, 2013, the United States will be under review by the United Nations to examine U.S. compliance with its legal obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) – a treaty the United States ratified in 1992.
Force feeding is inconsistent with medical ethics, as it directly infringes on detainees' rights to make their own decisions about their health. Health professionals at Guantánamo have been subjecting detainees to the procedure against their wishes, using shackles and restraints for up to four hours a day while force feeding them.
An Ethiopian man who sought asylum in the United States had been repeatedly beaten and tortured in his home country simply for engaging in protests against the government. A young Sudanese woman who was an outspoken human rights advocate bears scars from having been burned and beaten by her torturers; she now struggles to interact with people and is afraid of enclosed spaces like subway stations.
If the Obama administration wants to successfully resolve the 'Gordian Knot' that is the Guantánamo Bay detention centre, it has to untangle it carefully with a comprehensive approach proving that indefinite detention is not needed.