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Passion Islam I February 2009 ORLD NEWSW I 15
EU ministers urged to
help close Guantánamo
With the executive order issued by the who cannot be returned home is but they emphasized that the Obama
US President Barack Obama on the critical to any successful ‘close administration will need the help of
closure of Guantánamo, a coalition of Guantánamo’ plan, and we will do European governments to implement
human rights organizations is calling everything we can to assist you in this any plan to close the prison camp.
on EU foreign ministers to help close endeavour,” the letter said. Nearly seven years after the prison
the detention facility in Cuba. President Obama’s first acts camp opened, there are approximately
The ministers were urged to help in office were to suspend the 245 detainees at Guantánamo.
by offering humanitarian protection military commission proceedings at Approximately 60 men could face
to detainees at risk of torture or other Guantánamo and issue, following this torture or other serious human rights
serious human rights violations if violations if returned to their home
returned to their home countries. countries. At least one is stateless.
In a joint open letter to the ministers The US may decide to admit
attending the General Affairs and some of the men to the US mainland,
External Relations Council meeting in but the remaining detainees need
Brussels, the coalition said that now humanitarian protection in other
is the time for “European states to countries where they will be safe.
take a humane and practical step to “Amnesty International hopes that
help right a terrible wrong.” as a result of this meeting EU member
Published last month, the letter states will send a common message
was signed by Amnesty International, on their willingness to help close
the Centre for Constitutional Rights, Guantánamo, and - most important
Human Rights Watch, La Federation - follow it up with concrete action to
internationale des ligues droits de find homes for detainees who cannot
l’Homme (FIDH) and Reprieve. with executive order on its closure be returned to their countries of
“Our organizations sincerely believe as well as an order on interrogation origin,” said Nicolas Beger, director
that the willingness of European practices by US personnel. of Amnesty International’s European
governments to offer humanitarian The five organizations welcomed Union office.
protection to Guantánamo detainees these developments as positive steps,
New Somali president vows to bring peace
Somali people celebrated in the parts of the country, not under the targets of attacks by insurgents also
streets and anti-aircraft missiles were control of Islamists, people stayed up welcomed Ahmed’s victory. “President
blasted into the air to celebrate the all night to watch television or listen to Sheikh Sharif is no doubt committed
election of Sheikh Sharif Ahmed as the radio. to the peace process and we will
president. “Welcome Sharif, we are tired of do what it takes to support him and
The Islamist leader won the war. Let Somalis join hands,” Farhia his government,” said spokesman
presidency in an all-night Parliament Hassan, a mother of three, said as she Barigye Ba-Hoku.
session that ended early yesterday Ahmed has said he will try to correct
in neighboring Djibouti and vowed what he sees as the misinterpretation
to end conflict in the Horn of Africa of Islam by some insurgents and will
nation, make peace with neighbours welcome fighters in a new national
and rule with honesty and justice. security force, as long as they are
“We are supporting our newly committed to peace.
elected president of Somalia, because In a statement issued by its
he is a peaceful man. We expect him embassy in Nairobi, the United States
to practice our religion. We love him congratulated the former opposition
and that is why we are supporting leader on his victory. “President
him,” Ali Hashi Hirsi said. Sharif has been a strong proponent of
Thousands of supporters waved a green branch symbolizing the Djibouti process and has worked
converged in the capital Mogadishu’s peace. diligently on reconciliation efforts
war-battered stadium chanting, “Long The spokesman for some 3,500 in Somalia,” it said referring to UN-
live Sheikh Sharif.” African Union peacekeeping troops sponsored peace talks in Djibouti.
In Mogadishu and some central stationed in Mogadishu and long the
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