Tuesday, July 01, 2003

Why do we continue to detain prisoners in Guatanamo Bay? 

Are we holding re-education camps? What is the purpose of Guatanamo Bay? What are the objectives? What are the goals there? From the New York Times, Sunday, June 29:

III. A Very Long Way From Geneva
The detention-and-interrogation operation at Guantanamo Bay is clearly a problem area of America's war on terror. In mid-April, Secretary of State Colin L. Powell sent Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld a strongly worded letter that cited complaints from our allies that the indefinite detention of foreign citizens undermines efforts to win international support for the campaign against terrorism. And yet, two months later, the children are still there, the prisoner count is up by 20 and tribunals have yet to be scheduled.

Combatants from 42 countries are held at Guantanamo. Most, apparently, are from Saudi Arabia, Yemen and Pakistan, but others are citizens of allies like Canada, Sweden, Australia, Britain and Kuwait. The indefinite detention of the young is a small but revealing part of the operation. There is practically global unanimity that children deserve special protection by governments; the Convention on the Rights of the Child (C.R.C.), adopted by the United Nations in 1989, is the most widely ratified human rights treaty ever. It specifies that detained juveniles shall have the right to legal assistance and to a court's prompt decision on their detention. We are not providing either.