RE: US Violates Human Rights of the Child Soldier POWs
The United States has captured a number of child-soldier combatants as young as 12 years old. The government has kept these cases hidden from the American public. These children are branded as “terrorists”. They have been detained in harsh facilities with adults, held for years without being charged, (some for up to six years). When the reach the age of an adult, they are then charge him with capital offenses.
Consider the report below:
One child prisoner, Mohamed el Gharani, is accused of involvement in a 1998 al-Qa'ida plot in London led by the alleged al-Qa'ida leader in Europe, Abu Qatada. But he was 12 years old at the time and living with his parents in Saudi Arabia… After being arrested in Karachi in October 2001, aged 14, he has spent several years in solitary confinement as an alleged al-Qa'ida-trained fighter.
One Canadian-born boy, Omar Khadr, was 15 when arrested in 2002 and has also been kept in solitary confinement. The son of a known al-Qa'ida commander, he is accused of killing a US soldier with a grenade in July 2002 and was placed top of the Bush administration's list of detainees facing prosecution.
International Red Cross reports another 37 inmates were under the age of 18 when they were seized. One detainee, an al-Jazeera journalist called Sami el Hajj, has identified 36 juveniles in Guantanamo. The Independent World reports as many as 60 juveniles are incarcerated there.
The United States neither treat these youth as juvenile nor POW, but only as “terrorist”. Since a child cannot be given the death penalty, the US simply detains them without charges until the reach the age of majority.
This has stirred outrage in the world and divided America from her allies in fighting the global war on terror. The face of “terrorism” may be the face of a baby, a child soldier, who has no understanding of war, right or wrong, good or evil.
There is pressure on the government of Canada to have him sent back to his native country and tried in juvenile court. The United States has falsely escalated the definition of terrorism and war. By refusing to call the war in Iraqi a real war, with international mutual standard code of conducts, the US exempts itself from moral restrains recognized by the world.
It is no wonder that the United States and Somalia have not signed the CONVENTION ON THE RIGHTS OF THE CHILD, which was adopted by all the other nations of the world on November 20, 1989.
In light of Abu Graib and Guantanamo, the world should be as concerned as the “silent majority” of American citizens, who detest this use of “enhanced interrogation techniques” and torture on children.
The United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child, the General Assembly in 1993 requested the Secretary-General to appoint an expert to study the impact of armed conflict on children. After two years of research, field visits and consultations, Graça Machel, the Secretary-General's Expert on the subject and a former Minister for Education in Mozambique, submitted a report, titled Impact of Armed Conflict on Children (document A/51/306 and Add. 1), to the 1996 session of the General Assembly.
The most fundamental premise of this report is that children simply have no part in warfare. It reveals the full extent of children's involvement in the armed conflicts raging around the world, and sets out the findings and recommendations aimed at Governments, entities of the United Nations system, intergovernmental and regional bodies, civil society organizations and individuals.
The United States neither treat these youth as juvenile nor POW, but only as “terrorist”. Since a child cannot be given the death penalty, the US simply detains them without charges until the reach the age of majority. This has stirred outrage in the world and divided America from her allies in fighting the global war on terror.
The face of “terrorism” is the baby-face of a child soldier, who has no understanding of war, right or wrong, good or evil.
There is mounting pressure on the government of Canada to have Omar Khadr sent back to his native country and be tried in juvenile court.
The United States attempts to exempt itself from accountability to the international community, by trickery definitions of words like “terrorism” and the meaning of "conventional and unconventional war", and what is allowed and disallowed. They split hairs on the meaning of torture and confound the true meaning of human rights.
THE TIME IS COME: The government of the United States must abide by the international convention on the Right of the Child, to wit:
Article 19 You have the right to protection against all forms of violence, neglect, abuse and maltreatment. You should not be exploited by your parents or other guardians.
Article 22 If you have been forced to leave your country you have the same rights as all the other children in your new country. If you are alone you have the right to special protection and help. If possible you should be reunited with your family.
Article 30 The thoughts and beliefs of every child should be respected. If you belong to a minority you have the right to your own language, your own culture and your own religion.
Article 34 No one should subject you to abuse or force you into prostitution. If you are treated badly you are entitled to receive protection and help.
Article 35 No one is allowed to kidnap or sell you.
Article 37 No one should punish you in a cruel and harmful manner.
Article 38 You never have to be a soldier or take part in an armed conflict.
Article 42 All adults and children should know about this convention. You have the right to learn about your rights.
Eddie G. Griffin, Adult Friend WCPRC
Lt Commander Jeffrey Gordon, Senior Pentagon spokesman... "There is no international standard concerning the age of an individual who engages in combat operations... Age is not a determining factor in detention. [of those] engaged in armed conflict against our forces or in support to those fighting against us."