Monday

26th Aug 2019

Portugal urges EU to shelter Guantanamo prisoners

Portugal has stepped to the forefront of efforts to grant asylum to people who were imprisoned at the US military base in Guantanamo, Cuba, but once freed, fear returning to authoritarian government hands in such countries as Algeria or Sudan.

"The time has come for the European Union to step forward," Portuguese foreign minister Luis Amado said in a letter to the 27 EU governments released on Thursday (11 December).

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

  • Albania has been the only country in the world willing to accept a handful of detainees - in total eight men from China, Uzbekistan, Algeria and Egypt (Photo: Wikipedia)

He added: "As a matter of principle and coherence, we should send a clear signal of our willingness to help the US government in this regard, namely through the resettlement of detainees."

The Portuguese government "will be available to participate," the minister concluded.

The Guantanamo prison - holding individuals the US has termed "enemy combatants" from around the world since 2002 - has been widely denounced by jurists and civil liberties advocates as for its extra-legal character and reported human rights abuses.

US president-elect Barack Obama is expected to move swiftly to close the controversial site after he is sworn in as president.

Some 250 individuals are still held at the Guantanamo base. Around 40 of them are believed to face the potential threat of persecution and torture should they be returned to their home countries, nations where human rights abuses are common, such as Algeria, China, Libya, and Uzbekistan.

The Portuguese move has received a warm welcome from both the United States and human rights activists.

Washington described Portugal's call on the EU to house the individuals as "highly significant" and "a quite open challenge to the rest of Europe."

Human Rights Watch has called on other EU capitals to heed Lisbon's call.

"For years, the US has been unable to convince its European allies to accept Guantanamo detainees who cannot be sent back home. For the first time an EU government is publicly pushing to make that happen and others should echo Portugal's call," said Jennifer Daskal, a campaigner with the New York-based organisation.

Investigation

EU may extend 'passenger name records' to rail and sea

Documents reveal that EU states are considering broadening requirements on keeping passenger records, currently only applicable to air carriers, to providers of other modes of transport.

UK taking 'steps' after illegal copying of EU Schengen data

According to a classified report, the UK made illegal copies of EU security data, and its disregard for EU rules on handling such data was a "serious and immediate risk". The Commission now says "practical steps" have since been taken.

EU proposes yearly rule of law 'reports'

EU states ought to undergo a yearly "Rule of Law Review Cycle" to help stop countries such as Hungary, Poland, and Romania from backsliding on EU norms, the European Commission has said.

News in Brief

  1. Ocean Viking to disembark in Malta after ordeal
  2. Germany joins France in world outcry on Brazil fires
  3. British people lose faith in Brexit deal
  4. Brexit hardliners want further changes to EU deal
  5. German manufacturers confirm fear of recession
  6. Belgian socialists and liberals scrap over EU post
  7. Fall in EU migration leading to UK skills shortages
  8. Switzerland makes post-Brexit flight preparations

Stalling on VAT reform costing billions, says Commission

German media outlet Correctiv, along with other newsrooms, have revealed how criminals annually cheat EU states out of billions in VAT fraud. The EU Commission says solutions exist - but member states refuse to budge on tax unanimity.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDAUNESDA reduces added sugars 11.9% between 2015-2017
  2. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue: EU to raise key fundamental rights issues
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021
  5. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  7. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  8. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  9. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  10. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  11. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North

Latest News

  1. Spain heading for yet another general election
  2. EU to discuss Brazil beef ban over Amazon fires
  3. 'Our house is burning,' Macron says on Amazon fires
  4. What happens when trafficking survivors get home
  5. EU states and Russia clash on truth of WW2 pact
  6. EU considers new rules on facial recognition
  7. EU to pledge Africa security funds at G7 summit
  8. Letter from the EESC on per diem article

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us