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US military tribunals wrong venue for minors: UN report

[JURIST] The US should not try children under the age of 18 in military tribunals, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child [committee website] said in a report [PDF, text] released Friday as part of a periodic review of compliance with the Convention on the Rights of the Child [text]. The committee also called on the US to investigate allegations of abuse against minors detained at facilities in Iraq and Afghanistan. Since 2002, the US military has detained approximately 2,500 minors as illegal enemy combatants, according to a US government report [DOC, text; JURIST report] prepared in anticipation of the review. As of April 2008, the US is reportedly holding 10 juveniles in Afghanistan and 500 juveniles in Iraq.

The UN committee also urged the US to raise its minimum recruiting age for military service from 17 to 18. Last month, the American Civil Liberties Union released a report [PDF, text] criticizing the US military for targeting minors under the age of 17 in its recruitment drives despite official stated policy against the practice. AFP has more.

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