Parliamentarians refused permission to visit Guantanamo

24 May 2004

Parliamentarians refused permission to visit Guantanamo

Since receiving an invitation in his capacity as a member of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, Dutch Socialist Party (SP) Senator Tiny Kox has been looking forward to visiting the US concentration camp at Guantanamo Bay. Unfortunately, the Bush junta has decided not to allow parliamentarians to visit the site.

The original plan was to go to Guantanamo on 28th January, but this was postponed at the last moment, ostensibly due to bad weather and the non-availability of a military aircraft. At this point it was announced that the US administration was fully in accord with the visit, but tht a new date must be found which was suitable from all points of view.

Some time later The Secretary General of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly forbade his secretary to have anything more to do with preparations for the visit, claiming that it was taking up too much time and costing too much money. Some time after this, however, the chair of the Assembly’s defence and security committee said that the US would now allow only ambassadors and police officers to visit the camp.

Senator Kox is now demanding that these obstacles be removed and that the visit be allowed to proceed as arranged. In this, moreover, he has the full support of the Chair of the Dutch delegation to the NATO Assembly, conservative Senator Jos van Gennip.

Kox points out that "the need for such a visit is greater than ever, given recent revelations about the treatment of prisoners by US military personnel in Iraq. . Human rights organisations such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have repeatedly expressed great concern over conditions in Guantanamo."

You are here