ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Hunger Strikes at Guantánamo

Obama’s Crisis Moment

The Obama administration cannot disclaim responsibility regarding the force-feeding of the Guantánamo Bay detainees who are fasting as a form of protest. The detainees who have spent more than a decade of their lives in custody, often without any charges and many cleared for release, had turned to their only available tool of protest which is being denied to them in painful ways.

It seems like a long time ago, when US President Barack Obama, on his first day in office in January 2009, made an extremely significant symbolic gesture by signing three executive orders for the closure of Guantánamo within the year, banning of controversial Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) interrogation techniques, and shutting down the secret CIA prisons around the world. With the signing of those orders, he thought he had put an end to the much reviled policies of the Bush era. At the time, he said:

The orders that I signed today should send an unmistakable signal that our actions in defence of liberty will be as just as our cause, and we, the people, will uphold our fundamental values as vigilantly as we protect our security.1

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