Amnesty launches competition for artists to demand closure of Gitmo detention camp


Yesterday, January 11 marked the 20th anniversary of the opening of Guantánamo Bay, the infamous US detention camp in Cuba that has been the subject of allegations of torture, abuse and indefinite detention without charge. Muslim foreign nationals. Despite widespread international condemnation and promises by US Presidents Barack Obama and Joe Biden to shut down the facility, it continues to operate, detaining dozens of detainees with no prospect of a fair trial. On the occasion of this grim anniversary, Amnesty International and the Center for Victims of Torture (CVT) launched the Guantánamo 20th Anniversary Youth Poster Competition, an open call for artists under 30 to submit designs for a poster on Guantanamo for a first prize of $ 1,000.

“Art is a powerful way to tell a story and inspire others to take action,” human rights organizations said in a statement. declaration. “Guantanamo has been open for 20 years now. President Biden needs to hear from you!

Both organizations accused President Biden of being slow to shut down Guantánamo, saying he “does not appear to be making it a priority.”

A graphic for the Guantánamo 20th Anniversary Youth Poster Competition (courtesy Amnesty International and the Center for Victims of Torture)

The competition searches for original digital artwork that fits the theme “Shutting Down Guantanamo: 20 Years Too Long” and raises awareness at the detention center. Applications will be assessed by a panel of judges comprising representatives of Amnesty International and CVT, as well as Sabri Al Qurashi, a Yemeni artist detained at Guantanamo for more than 12 years.

Submissions for the competition are expected on February 9. The winning design will be announced on February 12 and will be widely used in the Amnesty and CVT campaigns. The second and third place winners will receive $ 500 and $ 200 respectively, and the finalists will be shared on the social media accounts of both organizations.

Created in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 attacks, Guantánamo was designed as a facility that operates outside of normal US law or judicial oversight. Over the past two decades, 780 Muslim men and teenagers have been held at the facility, and 39 remain behind bars, according to recent disclosures from the US government’s Interagency Periodic Review Committee. The council recommended the release of 12 of the remaining prisoners, but the transfer is pending security agreements with destination countries, according to the New York Times.

Over the years, Guantánamo detainees have described excruciating torture, sexual degradation, forced drugs and religious persecution committed against them by US forces on the grounds of the facility. A new report published yesterday by Amnesty International details the ongoing human rights violations at Guantanamo. According to the report, two of the 39 current detainees have been held at the site since its first day of operation on January 11, 2002. The others have been held there for at least 12 years.

“It is not only the 40 people still detained at Guantanamo, but also the crimes under international law committed over the past 19 years and the continued lack of accountability for them,” said Daphne Eviatar, director of Amnesty International USA’s security for human rights, said in a declaration. “It is also about the future, as we move towards the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks and fight for lasting justice.”


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