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Notes from the Ground

CVT World, Jan. 2024

Published January 16, 2024

Welcome to the January 2024 issue of CVT World, CVT’s periodic compilation of the latest news, stories and public activities from our team.

A Grim Anniversary: 22 Years of the Guantánamo Detention Facility

CVT was involved in numerous initiatives as we observed the 22nd anniversary of the opening of Guantánamo detention facility. On Jan. 9, CVT and partner non-governmental organizations sent this letter to President Biden, urging him to close the facility permanently. The authors write, “Your administration needs to do more, and do it now, to close the facility, and to end indefinite military detention.”

Scott Roehm, CVT director of global policy and advocacy, spoke with Sacha Pfeiffer about the letter on National Public Radio’s All Things Considered program. He commented about the 9/11 trial, for which men have been held in Guantánamo for decades, saying that “this has been called the most important criminal case in U.S. history, and yet for 16 years the case has been spinning its wheels haplessly, this kind of rusty hamster wheel of injustice, and it’s still years away even from a trial.” This story was also published on NPR’s site and was picked up by dozens and dozens of outlets and mentioned in this article by Monsoor Adayfi, who was detained at the facility for nearly fifteen years.

Yumna Rizvi, CVT senior policy analyst, wrote this article explaining the current situation at Guantánamo and the steps needed to close the facility. Yumna and Scott also co-authored this opinion article titled, “Another Lost Year on Guantánamo” for Just Security. They take a look at the lack of progress toward closing the facility, writing, “2023 is perhaps best described as a lost year for closing Guantanamo, and the Biden administration can’t afford lost years. Guantanamo continues to cause profound damage both inside and outside of its walls.”

Guantánamo was chosen in the hope that detainees there would be beyond the reach of U.S. courts—as one Bush administration official put it, because Guantánamo was ‘the legal equivalent of outer space.’”

Yumna Rizvi, CVT senior policy analyst in this article

This article mentions the many events that took place, including several that were co-sponsored by CVT.

News Commentary by Casa Alitas Leader and CVT Board Member

CVT board member Diego Piña Lopez, program director of Casa Alitas, spoke on NBC Nightly News in this segment about record-level border crossings. Diego said “they need more help or migrants could be left lost or homeless,” noting that funding to help asylum seekers does not meet demand. In addition, he appeared in this story from KOLD Tucson, about migrants coming to the Tucson airport. CVT’s Proyecto Mariposa project works in close partnership with Casa Alitas in Tucson, where we provide destination case management for asylum seekers.

Challenges for the United Nations in 2023

Dr. Simon Adams, CVT president and CEO, spoke to Jody Jacobs with China Global Television Network (CGTN) America about challenges faced by the United Nations in 2023, commenting, “I think it’s been a terrible year for the United Nations. Terrible on multiple levels.” He adds, “I think particularly when you look at the UN Security Council, it’s absolutely abdicated its responsibilities in terms of the maintenance of international peace and security and absolutely failed to uphold its responsibility to protect people from atrocities.” Watch the segment here.

I think it’s been a terrible year for the United Nations. Terrible on multiple levels.”

Dr. Simon Adams, CVT president & CEO

News Commentary on Death of Journalist in Gaza

On Dec. 15, Simon Adams was interviewed live on Al Jazeera Arabic, commenting on the death of the outlet’s cameraman, Samer Abu Dakka, in Gaza during an airstrike. Simon spoke about reports of more than 60 additional journalists killed in Gaza since Oct. 7. Additionally, CVT participated in a Global Day of Action, calling for an enduring ceasefire and asking people to sign an international petition.

Working for Expedited Licensing for Foreign-Born Medical Professionals

As Georgia, U.S., looks closely at barriers to licensing foreign-born medical professionals, CVT Georgia is working to expedite the process. As part of her work with the Business & Immigration for Georgia Partnership, Darlene Lynch, head of external relations, CVT Georgia, provided testimony to a Senate study committee, which was mentioned by reporter Jill Jordan Sieder, who writes, “Though 1 in 5 licensed doctors in Georgia is foreign-born, Lynch said, many more immigrant doctors and health care professionals live in Georgia but cannot practice here. She urged the committee to adopt the licensing practices of seven other states which have developed expedited pathways for skilled immigrant doctors to become licensed.”

Working in Coalition with Partners

Working with partners brings strength to CVT’s policy advocacy. In recent weeks, we participated in numerous actions that support survivors of torture. Below are some of these coalition and partner actions.

  • CVT joined human rights and faith-based organizations in signing this letter to U.S. senators, urging them to support a resolution introduced by Senator Bernie Sanders. This resolution requires oversight on how U.S. military assistance to Israel is being used, and it would ensure documentation and reporting on human rights practices by Israel in its military operations in Gaza and the West Bank.
  • On Oct. 21, 2023, CVT signed this CeasefireNow petition with partner organizations, calling for an end to violence in Gaza and Israel. On Dec. 18, we participated in a Global Day of Action urging people to voice support and sign the petition. More than one million people have signed already, along with over 800 organizations, including CVT. The petition calls on Heads of State and the UN Security Council to prioritize the preservation of human life above all else.
  • CVT joined human rights partners in calling on U.S. leadership to protect asylum seekers’ rights instead of expanding anti-asylum policies, which would have a profound impact on LGBTQ asylum seekers. The authors write, “Make no mistake, destroying asylum will not fix the immigration system or solve problems along the Southern Border. It will, however, result in the preventable persecution, torture, and death of thousands of LGBTQ refugees.” Read the letter here.
  • CVT joined this call to release Armenian prisoners being held by the Azerbaijani government. The individuals have been illegally detained in the aftermath of a September invasion by Azerbaijan into the Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh, after which the prisoners were arrested. Read more here. This letter received very wide media attention, particularly across Europe.
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