Getting to Grips with Guantanamo

Project Details


Guantanamo Bay Detention Facility (GTMO) has been a human rights disaster engaging the international community and public for 15 years. The failure of Obama to close the facility has resulted in the perpetuation of human rights by one of the UK’s strongest allies. Few academics have been granted access to observe the ‘trial’ proceedings at GTMO. This roundtable will engage civil society and policy-makers in an appraisal of the realities of GTMO following on from the applicant’s research trip to GTMO (support provided by a CHSS ESRC Rapid Response Travel Grant).

The US has breached a wide range of international and domestic laws in relation to its ‘war on terror’ and subsequent creation and operation of GTMO. Through the manipulation and redefinition of many legal obligations and terms, the US government has used its position of power to perpetrate these violations. However, it has not acted alone. The UK, among other countries, has played a role in facilitating these violations of law. This project aims to highlight the impact of state-level decisions on the remaining detainees to the civil society and policy-makers from a ‘boots on the ground’ perspective.

Layman's description

The real human rights situation at Guantanamo Bay Detention Facility (GTMO) as assessed by individual observations at the detention facility is the focus of this roundtable event. Providing a ‘boots on the ground’ perspective coupled with an evaluation of existing international legal obligations of the US and the UK, the roundtable panelists will deliver a thorough legal analysis of GTMO and explain why the collective breaches of international law by the US, the UK and other states should continue to be on the policy agenda in the UK. It brings together UK and US government representatives, academics and civil society to discuss the international legal ramifications of the US operation of GTMO.

Key findings

Despite government statements and policies about the breaches of international law by the US in terms of Guantanamo detention operations, policy makers and parliamentarians actually have little active interest in these issues. The public, however, has a high interest and questions why other States do not call the US to account for its actions in Guantanamo.
Effective start/end date1/08/1628/04/17


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