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PHR Condemns President Obama’s Signing of National Defense Authorization Act for 2012 (NDAA)

man in holding cell

January 2012

Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) condemned today President Barack Obama’s signing of the National Defense Authorization Act for 2012 (NDAA). On the eve of 2012, President Obama signed the NDAA into law, making military indefinite detention in America permanent. Although the President’s signing statement expressed “serious reservations” about the provisions, the statement applies only to the current administration and does not impact how future administrations interpret the law.

Previously, PHR called on President Obama to veto the NDAA for 2012 which: 

  • Establishes by statute a permanent regime of indefinite detention of a broad category of individuals under the “laws of war.”
  • Continues to severely restrict the ability to transfer the men at Guantanamo to their home or other safe countries.

The NDAA contains no time or geographical boundaries and can be used to militarily detain individuals, including American citizens and residents, far from any battlefield until the “end of hostilities."  It allows American forces and officials to pick up individuals almost anywhere in the world and detain them without charge or trial. 

NDAA restrictions will also keep Guantanamo open as it imposes an extraordinary constraint on the President’s ability to close Guantanamo and send the men—the majority of whom have been cleared for release—home.

“PHR is extremely disappointed with President Obama’s action. By signing the NDAA, he continues to extend indefinite detention, which moves America farther away from adhering to the principle under international law and norms that basic fairness and justice apply equally to every human being,”  stated Kristine Huskey, PHR’s Director of the Anti-Torture Program.

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