USA: Potential releases from Guantánamo Bay highlight shameful detention of Children's rights

The US authorities must be judged not on the basis of what games and videos were provided but on the appalling facts that these Children's rights were held thousands of miles from home with no access to their families or to legal advice, were never charged with any crime, and reportedly had no idea of what was happening.

The detention of Children's rights is particularly repugnant and flouts basic principles for the protection of Children's rights under international law. What about the other under-18s believed to be held in Guantánamo Bay? When will the US meet its obligations to provide Children's rights access to legal counsel and to family or guardians?'

Many of those held in Guantánamo Bay have now been held without charge or trial for around 18 months. Rather than being a triumph for the USA, today's revelations highlight yet again the shameful legal limbo in which around 680 people are detained.

Amnesty International has repeatedly called for the voluntary repatriation of all those detained as combatants during the international armed conflict in Afghanistan, as required under the Geneva Conventions, unless they are to be charged with criminal offences or would face serious human rights abuses if returned to their country.

Any other of the Guantánamo Bay detainees should be charged with recognisable criminal offences and tried within a reasonable time, or released, but not returned to any country where they would be at risk of torture, execution or other serious human rights abuses.

Background

On Tuesday 19 August 2003, Amnesty International published The Threat Of A Bad Example: Undermining International Standards As 'War On Terror' Continues. The report stated that the US has sought unchallengeable executive power for itself in the war on terror and has created a parallel justice system to detain, interrogate, charge or try suspects under the laws of war.

The Threat Of A Bad Example stresses that persistent ill-treatment allegations, a lack of access to independent human rights organisations and lawyers, and the possibility that the USA's understanding of what constitutes cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment may not meet international definitions, gives rise to serious concern as to the treatment of those in US custody.

Noting numerous protestations of 'example-setting' and of the USA's supposed adherence to international human rights standards, as well as citing the US State Department's own finding on human rights in other countries, Amnesty International's report stresses the dangerous example being set by the USA's 'war on terror detentions.

Read The Threat Of A Bad Example online at: http://web.amnesty.org/library/Index/ENGAMR511142003

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