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UK: Catterick bullying film shows need for independent inquiry

Amnesty International UK Media Director Mike Blakemore said:

"If this film is genuine, it raises some very serious concerns about the treatment of British army recruits at Catterick. When the British army has banned the hooding of prisoners, why is it apparently hooding its own recruits?

"These are the latest in an alarmingly long line of allegations of bullying, self-harm and suspicious deaths at both Catterick and Deepcut barracks. On each occasion the reputation of the British army is further damaged. There is a clear need for an independent inquiry to get to the bottom of these and other allegations of bullying.

"Investigations of the army by the army, behind closed doors, are not enough. Investigations must be thorough, independent and impartial and be seen to be so.

"Young recruits are being failed by the system. Britain has the lowest armed forces deployment age in Europe and still reserves the right to send under-18s into combat. Amnesty has repeatedly called for an end to this practice."

The UK is ignoring the demands of international human rights law which calls for an independent and impartial investigation into non-combat deaths at Catterick and Deepcut barracks, said Amnesty International.

The human rights organisation is calling for:

  • a full independent inquiry into all non-combatant deaths
  • an independent ombudsman who can investigate serious allegations of sexual harassment and bullying
  • an end to the practice of recruiting under 18s

The UN Committee against Torture (CAT) has called for a public inquiry into bullying and non-combat deaths in the British army.

Amongst other things, the CAT has expressed concern about "reports of incidents of bullying followed by self-harm and suicide in the armed forces, and the need for a full public inquiry into these incidents and adequate preventative measures".

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