U.S. Hostage and Wrongful Detainee Day Proclaimed by President Biden

Staff report

Washington – March 8, 2024

In a proclamation issued today, President Joseph R. Biden Jr. declared March 9, 2024, as U.S. Hostage and Wrongful Detainee Day. The President reaffirmed the commitment of the United States to bring home American hostages and detainees wrongfully held abroad, emphasizing the administration’s dedication to their safety and security.

The proclamation highlighted the administration’s achievements in the past three years, noting the successful repatriation of over 60 Americans from various countries, including Afghanistan, Burma, Gaza, Haiti, Iran, Russia, Rwanda, Venezuela, and West Africa. President Biden acknowledged the ongoing challenges, emphasizing the imperative to address the plight of those still unlawfully detained.

Since taking office, President Biden’s administration has prioritized efforts to combat hostage-taking and wrongful detention. The President signed an Executive Order in 2022 to strengthen initiatives against these practices, imposing severe consequences on those responsible for detaining American citizens illegally.

The administration also implemented sanctions against actors engaged in such practices, specifically citing instances in Russia and Iran. Furthermore, the President emphasized preventive measures, with the U.S. joining 74 nations and the European Union in endorsing the Declaration Against Arbitrary Detention.

To enhance awareness among U.S. travelers, the Department of State launched a risk indicator that warns about the potential threat of wrongful detention at specific destinations. Travelers can access information on travel advisories at travel.state.gov.

President Biden underscored his commitment to ensuring the safe return of every American held hostage or wrongfully detained abroad. He pledged to leverage all available resources to punish and deter those engaging in such reprehensible acts until every American is accounted for and safely returned home.

The proclamation revealed that Congress, through Public Law 118-31 approved on December 22, 2023, designated March 9 of each year as “U.S. Hostage and Wrongful Detainee Day.” President Biden called upon the people of the United States to observe this day with relevant programs, ceremonies, and activities.

For further information on travel advisories, visit travel.state.gov.

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