U.N. calls for closure of U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay

GENEVA — On Monday, the 19th anniversary of the establishment of the Guantanamo Bay detention facility at the U.S. military base in Cuba, a group of eight United Nations experts issued a statement calling the existence of the facility a disgrace to the United States and the international community and should have been closed long ago.

The statement stressed the systematic abuses, including torture, had committed in the facility and the illegal detention, interrogation, and torture of detainees was detrimental to the notions of justice and the rule of law.

At the peak of its usage in 2003, the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay held about 700 detainees. Today, 40 detainees remain at the facility, only nine of whom have been convicted of a crime.

The U.N. experts called on U.S. President-elect Joe Biden to close the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay once and for all.

The first batch of detainees at the facility included 20 people detained in Afghanistan in 2002 accused of participating in Taliban combat operations. Hundreds of people were arrested by the United States and held without formal charges.

The facility has remained in operation to this day, despite the promise of former U.S. President Barack Obama to close it.