A large coalition of human rights and civil liberties groups urged President Barack Obama on Wednesday to veto the annual defense spending bill over provisions related to the Guantanamo Bay Prison Facility.
Groups like Amnesty International, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Human Rights Watch are pressuring Obama to veto the National Defense Authorization Act of 2013 because it prohibits detainees from being moved to the United States or to foreign countries, forcing the controversial facility to remain open.
“Your commitment to close the Guantanamo prison was a hallmark of your 2008 campaign and a signal to everyone, both across America and around the globe, of a renewed commitment to the rule of law,” the 29 groups wrote in a letter to the President.
“Your executive order, on your second full day as president, directing the government to close the prison should have heralded the end of the prison, but instead triggered a long series of failures and obstacles to its closure. There are still 166 detainees left at Guantanamo, and the promise of closing the prison remains unfulfilled.”
The White House threatened to veto the annual defense spending bill in November if the Guantanamo provisions were included, noting that the President had “promised to work towards their repeal.” However, the White House made similar threats last year only for Obama to sign the bill into law at the 11th-hour with the provisions included.
“Closing Guantanamo is good human rights policy and good national security policy,” the groups wrote. “Restrictions impeding the closing of the Guantanamo prison clearly warrant a veto by you.”