Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Trampling The Rights Of The Child: The Treatment Of Juveniles In Guantánamo

Filed under: children and youth,Human Rights,International Law: War,News Watch Blog — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 09:25 PDT

According to the Optional Protocol to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (on the involvement of children in armed conflict), to which the United States has been a signatory since January 23, 2003, juvenile prisoners — those under the age of 18 when their alleged crimes took place — “require special protection.” The Optional Protocol specifically recognizes “the special needs of those children who are particularly vulnerable to recruitment or use in hostilities”, and requires its signatories to promote “the physical and psychosocial rehabilitation and social reintegration of children who are victims of armed conflict.”

In January 2003, four doctors in Guantánamo put together a fascinating document, entitled “Recommended Course of Action for Reception and Detention of Individuals Under 18 Years of Age” (PDF). This was clearly influenced by international agreements regarding the distinctions between adult and juvenile prisoners (including the Geneva Conventions, which were, in general, shredded by the administration), and it laid out, in painstaking detail, how juvenile prisoners held at Guantánamo should be treated.

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