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United Nations experts on Tuesday congratulated US President Joe Biden’s goal of closing Guantanamo and called on Washington to punish the crimes committed at the iconic prison.

The new tenant of the White House said in mid-February that before the end of his term he wants to close Guantánamo, the military prison located on the island of Cuba and that was created after the attacks of September 11, 2001.

Two UN groups, specializing in disappearances and arbitrary detentions, and five independent human rights experts welcomed the announcement, but called on the administration to also address the rights violations suffered by the 40 detainees, which include torture.

“On the 20th anniversary of September 11, 2001, we ask for transparency, understanding and accountability of the operation and the legacy of the prison,” say the experts, who collaborate with the UN but do not speak on behalf of the organization.

They also recall that many of the detainees aged behind bars and are in weak health after years of imprisonment under harsh conditions and having suffered “physical and mental torture.”

“We insist on the need to reject the policies and practices that led to the creation of the prison,” say the experts, “with the aim of preventing the repetition of these practices that violate international law.”

In addition, they defend the importance that the disappeared, tortured and arbitrarily detained have a fair trial and that they receive “the pertinent compensation”.

And they ask the US authorities to promote “impartial and independent investigations” into the violations of rights in Guantánamo.

“Democracies can and must do better and the United States must leave this dark chapter of its history behind,” they add.

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Minnesota Officials Ask Families to Get Tested Every 2 Weeks

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Minnesota public health officials are asking families to get tested for the coronavirus every two weeks from now until the end of the school year, in an effort to limit impact of the disease.

The state Department of Health Campaign announced Wednesday is reaching out to families, health professionals, schools and youth organizations to help encourage regular COVID-19 testing.

“Over the past few months, the number of students attending in-person classes has significantly increased, with thousands more expected to return to the classroom in coming weeks,” Health Department Assistant Commissioner Dan Huff said, adding that many people will be resuming sports and other activities. “To protect this progress, we need to use all the tools at our disposal.”

Of Minnesota’s 480,845 confirmed COVID-19 cases, 80,417 have been in those under the age of 20, or about 17% of all cases.

The state is also beefing up vaccination plans for older residents. Teddy Tschann, spokesman for Gov. Tim Walz, said the governor plans to outline a proposal Thursday to vaccinate at least 70% of Minnesotans aged 65 and older by the end of March, before expanding eligibility to other groups.

State health officials on Wednesday confirmed 761 new cases and nine new deaths due to the coronavirus.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Tags: Minnesota, Associated Press

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