London – An international network of human rights organisations and advocacy groups have today launched a 5 month long campaign to commemorate twenty years since the launch of the global War on Terror [1]. 

“The International Witness Campaign” [2], initiated by CAGE, involves over 40 global partners from over 13 countries and marks its launch with the end of the longest war in US history.

The campaign will feature activities highlighting the impact and failures of the War on Terror.

The pernicious rhetoric of the War on Terror has become a global phenomenon. The architects garnered public support by demonising Islam and constructed a framework of laws and policies that perpetrated injustice on an unprecedented scale against Muslim populations. The infrastructure of hate was then used to suppress dissenting voices and erode civil liberties for all. The surveillance state, securitisation and erosion of the rule of law are manifestations of the toxic campaign.

Globally, failed wars have seen the devastation of entire nations through direct invasions and proxy wars causing the deaths of over 800k [3] and the displacement of 37 million people [4].

At the heart of the initiative stand the millions of people affected across the globe and the voices of survivors of the abuses. It will seek to chart the globalisation of the War on Terror, in the context of solidarity, justice and dialogue.

Muhammad Rabbani, Managing Director of CAGE said:

“We are proud to launch the International Witness Campaign alongside our global partners. This is a poignant moment to reflect over the devastation the War on Terror has caused over the last two decades.

All efforts to move forward must centre justice for survivors, accountability for the perpetrators and proceed with the dismantlement of the entire infrastructure of laws, policies and rhetoric that justified and prop up the War on Terror industry.”

Mansoor Adayfi, who spent nearly 15 years in Guantanamo and is currently The Guantanamo Project Coordinator for CAGE said:

“Since my release from Guantanamo Bay, where I spent nearly 15 years without charge or trial, I have been advocating for its closure and for an end to the hostility that gave birth to Guantanamo. Those responsible for the lost years of my life must also be brought to account.

I always believed peace can be achieved through dialogue and that justice can only happen if perpetrators are accounted. The international witness campaign comes at the perfect time to amplify this message on a global level.”

Notes for editors:

[1] Please find attached the International Witness Campaign Press Pack which contains further details about the campaign and confirmed key dates: https://docs.google.com/document/d/15i-LzSH8Mm4KUEfhP7ldarvnV_g5POxKLoiaOPtzx3s/edit?usp=sharing

[2] Visit the campaign website: https://www.20yearsofwar.com/

[3] Source: https://www.brown.edu/news/2019-11-13/costsofwar

[4] Source: https://watson.brown.edu/costsofwar/files/cow/imce/papers/2020/Displacement_Vine%20et%20al_Costs%20of%20War%202020%2009%2008.pdf