At this time there are more than 500 youths in detention held as “unlawful enemy combatants” throughout Iraq by the United States. In Afghanistan another 10 are being detained.
The juveniles that the United States has detained have been captured engaging in anti-coalition activity, such as planting Improvised Explosive Devices, operating as lookouts for insurgents, or actively engaged in fighting against U.S. and Coalition forces,” the U.S. report said.
Most of those that are in centres are between the ages of 16 to 17.
There are also a total of eight juveniles that have been held at Guantanamo Bay. It is said that those children were released.
“It remains uncertain the exact age of these individuals, as most of them did not know their date of birth or even the year they were born,” the report says. But U.S. military doctors who evaluated them believed that three were under age 16.
Those held in Afghanistan are at Bagram Theater Internment Facility. The United States refuses to list those held there so the number of youths may differ.
In Bagram, a U.S. military spokesman, Marine 1st Lt. Richard K. Ulsh, told the AP on Sunday: “At any time there are up to 625 detainees being held at the Bagram Theater Internment Facility. There are no detainees being held under the age of 16 and, without getting into specifics due to the frequent fluctuation in the number of detainees being held, we can tell you that there are currently less than 10 detainees being held under the age of 18.”
The United States reports shows that these young people are being housed in the same facilities as adult detainees. This violates the obligations of the U.S. under the Optional Protocol on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict that the U.S. ratified in 2002. Children are to be housed in separate facilities and have certain rights not afforded to adults. It appears that these rights have been overlooked in the case of the Iraqi War.