Statement Responding to the Russian Federation and Belarus on the Hunger Strike at Guantanamo Detention Facility

As delivered by Ambassador Ian Kelly
to the Permanent Council, Vienna
April 11, 2013

We would like to thank the delegations of the Russian Federation and Belarus for their remarks. We are aware of the concern regarding the hunger strike occurring at the U.S. Naval Station Guantanamo Bay.

As a policy matter, we do not publically comment on individual detainees’ medical or hunger strike status.  The health and well-being of detainees is the primary mission of the Guantanamo medical staff and Joint Task Force-Guantanamo continues to work to ensure the health and safety of the detainees.  It is the policy of the Department of Defense to support the preservation of life by appropriate clinical means, in a humane manner, and in accordance with all applicable laws and policies. The medical staff continuously monitors and provides exemplary medical care to detainees at JTF -GTMO.

We are working with ODIHR to support a visit by ODIHR to Guantanamo, including a tour of military commission facilities and potentially viewing military commission proceedings at facilities in the United States.  The United States is currently working to identify possible dates for the visit, which we expect to occur in the near future.

Mr. Chairman, the United Sates reserves its right to return to this issue to further address the concerns of the Russian Federation and other participating States at a later date.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.