The war against Iraq and Afghanistan brought America a lot of bad publicity. Many people made war crimes a major issue, especially due to how children were handled by the American soldiers.
Reports indicate that children were jailed with adults where they were victims of rapes and poor treatment. Reports like these sent shockwaves to everyone as this behavior is against generally acceptable laws. Additionally, reports also indicate that the parents of several children were never notified of their child’s arrest.
A book by Michael Haas highlights the crime on children in Afghanistan. The book titled “George W. Bush, War Criminal? severely criticized the former president for his handling of the subject matter. The book says that American soldiers recorded Iraqi prisoners raping children and did not try to intervene. The book also states that children were terrified by dogs in Abu Ghraib highlighting how brutally they were treated.
In addition to these children were the victims of several other crimes. Haas in the same book reports that in 2002 alone more than 800 children (aged 10-15) were captured. He adds that a great number of children were sent to Guantanamo as well, even though the 1977 Geneva Convention says, “No Party to the conflict shall arrange for the evacuation of children, other than its own nationals, to a foreign country” unless written consent of the parents is obtained.
Other crimes identified include not providing children with healthcare facilities and food. Additionally, many children were not allowed to call or write to their home for as long as four to five years. Many parents were barred from paying a visit to their children, which is something completely unacceptable.
As per the numbers given by the US, it has detained around 2,400 children in Iraq since 2002. However, many argue that the numbers are much higher in reality. Additionally, almost two dozen children have been incarcerated in Guantanamo.
CRC says that children should have the right to freedom. Additionally, article number 13 of the CRC says that children should be allowed to seek, receive and impart information of all kinds through writing or orally. Yet, they are barred from such facilities in prison.
Many writers are writing about the mistreatment of children in Afghanistan, Iraq, Guantanamo and other regions. There is a dire need for international organizations to wake up and take notice of the injustice.
Even to this day it is believed that several children as war prisoners are jailed in different parts of the world for no mistake of their own. Activists are asking for children to be passed off as war victims and not war criminals because they do not really take part in war and simply fall victim to it.
It is important that everyone joins hands to stop the mistreatment and abuse of children and make sure that those found guilty are properly prosecuted. Additionally, parents should be allowed to meet their children and their crimes should be clearly communicated to them so that they can defend their cases. Plus, children should be provided with speedy trials so that their precious years are not wasted.
The world will be a much better place if best practices like these are implemented.