Friday, April 25, 2003


and i'm proud to be an american, where at least i know
[fill in the blank]
(should the blank be)
my government detains preteens in totalitarian states without so much as a fake trial?
i'm outraged. even if the kids know things, they are kids for crying out loud. there needs to be some semblance of sanity here. the ends do not justify the means.
See below.

Can you believe this?
From: Human Rights Watch
Subject: U.S.: Guantanamo Kids at Risk
Date: Thu, 24 Apr 2003 11:39:46 -0700

U.S.: Guantanamo Kids at Risk

(New York, April 24, 2003) — The detention of children at Guantanamo
poses grave risks to their well-being, Human Rights Watch said today, in
response to the U.S. military’s acknowledgement that at least three
children, ages 13 to 15, are among the detainees at Guantanamo. In a
letter sent today to U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, Human
Rights Watch urged the United States to strictly observe international
children’s rights standards regarding the detainees.

“Secretary Rumsfeld called those detained at Guantanamo the "worst of
the worst,"” said Jo Becker, child rights advocacy director for Human
Rights Watch. “It’s hard to believe that a 13 year old could fit that

A Pentagon spokesperson has said that the children are being questioned
to obtain possible intelligence.

“Simply providing the United States with military intelligence does not
justify the detention of children,” said Becker. “If these children have
committed offenses, they should be provided with counsel and adjudicated
in accordance with standards of juvenile justice. Otherwise, they should
be released immediately.”

The conditions at Guantanamo pose particularly serious risks to
children. Child detainees should never be held together with adults, but
because there are so few children, they are held for long periods in
virtual isolation. They have no access to lawyers, limited or no access
to their families, and are subject to interrogation.

Human Rights Watch raised a particular concern that isolated conditions
are especially conducive to suicidal behavior. Studies have shown that
children held in adult jails, where they are more likely to be held in
separate, secure housing and spend substantial periods of time in
isolation, are up to eight times more likely to commit suicide than
those held in facilities specifically for juveniles.

“There have already been as many as 25 suicide attempts reported at
Guantanamo,” said Becker. “Children at Guantanamo are at even higher
risk, particularly because of their relative isolation.”

Human Rights Watch noted that the children held at Guantanamo may have
participated in armed conflict in Afghanistan as child soldiers with the
Taliban or Al-Qaeda.

Under international humanitarian law, under no circumstances should
children under the age of 15 be recruited or used to participate in
hostilities. A treaty ratified by the United States in December 2002
establishes a higher age of 18 as the minimum age for any compulsory
recruitment or participation in armed conflict. It also obliges
governments to assist in the demobilization and rehabilitation of former
child soldiers.

“The use of children as soldiers is an appalling abuse,” said Becker.
“These children are entitled to rehabilitation, not indefinite

A copy of the letter sent to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld can be
found at:

i seriously feel queasy...


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