Thursday, August 27, 2009

Human Rights: Time to release all juvenile detainees from Guantánamo Bay

The United Nations advocate for children and armed conflict has welcomed the release of Mohammed Jawad, one of the youngest detainees in Guantánamo Bay, and called for all juvenile detainees at the detention camp to be released.

Radhika Coomaraswamy, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict, “commends the decision of the US Government,” which she said “abides by the spirit of the United Nations Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child.”

“Trying young people for war crimes with regards to alleged acts committed when they were minors would have created a dangerous international precedent,” she said yesterday.

Mr. Jawad, an Afghan, was taken prisoner in 2002 when he may only have been 12 years old. Most of the charges against him were ruled inadmissible in 2008, and last month a United States District Court ordered his release from Guantánamo.

The UN’s High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, welcomed Mr. Jawad’s release yesterday and called for accountability for anyone who had violated the law.

Mr. Jawad was one of the last three juvenile detainees at Guantánamo who were under the age of 18 when they allegedly committed their crimes. Mohammed El-Gharani was released recently and Omar Khadr’s case is under consideration

Published by Mike Hitchen,
Putting principles before profits