20 years of Guantanamo Bay – 2 Decades of Injustice
The 20th anniversary of the U.S. military detention facility is being marked by protests and disturbing allegations. Its strategic location blurs the lines of international law and prisoner treatment, thus stripping detainees of their constitutional rights. Established under Bush administration during the height of the ‘war on terror’, its legacy as a place of torture, injustice, abuse and indefinite detention continues. The legal anomaly has proven hard to shut down, and calls for Biden to keep his promise and to close its doors once and for all are their strongest ever.
Under Vladimir Putin’s Foreign Agent Law, human rights organisation International Memorial has become the latest victim ordered to close its doors. Seen by many as an attack on freedom of expression and association, the group were dedicated to documenting the rights abuses and political repression that Russia witnessed under Stalin and other Soviet leaders. As well as documenting the past, they preserved the memory of the victims lost to the Gulag, promoted democracy, civil society, and were committed to establishing firm human rights in a country with a turbulent past.
2021 marks the 100th anniversary of one of the worst episodes of racial violence in US history. On 31 May 1921, a white mob attacked Greenwood, a thriving black community, destroying everything in its path and killing more than 300 people. Beginning with the arrest of a 19-year-old black man accused of assaulting a 17-year-old white girl, it turned into a bloodbath. Scars still run deep for Tulsa residents and the black American community, who to this day continue to fight for equality and social justice.
Last week there were armed clashes in the Western Sahara between the Morocan military and the region’s independence movement Polisario Front. Western Sahara is a former Spanish colony that was occupied by Morocco in 1975. The Polisario Front fought against the occupation and in 1976, with the support of Algeria and Libya, proclaimed the Democratic Arab Republic of the Sahara. Since 1991 there has been a truce between the two sides, that now seems to be over.
Much concern has been raised globally this new National Security legislation. It has been met with widespread protest movements, and criticism from many democratic nations. The laws significantly restrict freedom of speech, and also affects both residents, and non-residents. Severe penalties are to be imposed for secession, subversion, and terrorism.