UN rights chief urges commitment to end torture of children
UN rights chief urges commitment to end torture of children

[JURIST] UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein on Friday warned about child torture [press release] and urged a commitment to end it. At the 43rd session of the Board of Trustees of the UN Voluntary Fund for Victims of Torture [text], Zeid stated, “neither national security nor the fight against terrorism, the threat of armed conflict, or any public emergency can justify torturing anyone … and yet many States and non-State actors continue to torture people—a horror that my staff must combat daily.” Customary international law, the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment and the Convention on the Rights of the Child [text] all prohibit torture in all circumstances, especially the torture of children. The rights chief pointed out how they are easy targets in disputes in the international community.

The international community has been monitoring the rights of the child since the Convention on the Rights of the Child [text] entered into force in 1990. In July 2012 a UN committee condemned [JURIST report] Israel’s treatment of child detainees. In November 2011 the UN asked [JURIST report] Syria to respond to inquiries regarding a report dealing with child torture. In November 2008 the US admitted [JURIST report] to the committee that it was detaining 12 juveniles in Guantanamo. This realization came only months after the committee asserted [JURIST report] that military tribunals were not the proper venue for juvenile detainees. In May of that year the Department of Defense confirmed a previous report [JURIST reports] that the US was detaining 2,500 juveniles in Afghanistan.