Guantánamo Bay is a US-run prison containing high-profile offenders located on the southern tip of Cuba. It has been an active US Naval base since 1903 but the prison was set up under the instruction of President George W. Bush’s Government in 2002. It came about following the devastating 9/11 attacks and the growing threat of international terrorists. The overseas prison offers an opportunity to detain high-risk suspects from American soil. Due to the nature of the prison being overseas, the US’ Constitution no longer applies, meaning actions carried out in the Camp do not have to follow the US law surrounding human rights.
Guantánamo holds senior members of the Taliban, Al Qaeda as well as the ringleaders who put together the 9/11 attacks. These incredibly high-risk prisoners are kept in Camp 7 within the detention centre; this particular camp is closed off to the outside world not allowing any form of documentation into what occurs inside of it.
The prison continued to grow with little information being disclosed but this rapidly changed in 2009. After Obama was successful in the Presidential Elections of 2008, and then inaugurated in office on 20th January 2009, he set out his plans for the US Detention Camp in Cuba. Obama had only been in office for two days when he issued an executive order that Guantánamo Bay should be shut down within a year. This decision was made on the back of the alleged inhumane abuse and treatment of prisoners, both mentally and sexually. Many prisoners are held without trial and in a number of cases, their accusations have been incorrect furthering the detrimental impacts on the detainees. Obama came into office when the number of prisoners at Guantánamo was at 779, an all-time high. He left office with just over 40 remaining detainees, meaning his promise to shut it down had failed. Although he had attempted to follow through, resistance from Congress resulted in a compromise of a much smaller number of prisoners in the Camp.
Following the election of Trump, a pro-Guantánamo Bay political figure, the camp is undergoing expansion once again. Trump stated during his campaign that he wants to “load it up with bad guys” endorsing the benefits of having the overseas prison to hold inmates. He disagreed with Obama’s policy to shut Guantánamo down; if the centre were to be closed the prisoners would have to be redistributed into US prisons which could cause huge threats to other inmates and citizens alike. The future of Guantánamo Bay is uncertain yet, as Trump is in power, it is more likely that the process of detaining high-profile prisoners will continue. It removes them from being a potential threat to the USA, as well as containing and closely monitoring them.
Guantánamo Bay Detention Camp has become a a hugely controversial topic surrounding human rights and its circumstances at any one time hugely depend on who is currently in power in the USA and their individual views on the matter.
Thea (Year 13), Head of Poore Company
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