Friday, October 31, 2008

Security of person

The present (and passing) presidential administration has practiced illegal, criminal acts of torture. They have admitted as much. But their lawyers have claimed they didn't break any laws because they changed the designation name of the detainees. Geneva Convention and Hague Convention laws state civilians and combatants must be treated in a humane manner. The Bush administration claimed they were a new designation which didn't fit "civilian" or "combatant" calling it, "unlawful enemy combatant."

Of course this is legal jin jitsu. Of course they're combatants. If they're not combatants, they're civilians. Enemy sympathizers and logistical supporters have always been civilians, or at worst saboteurs treated as combatants.

However, we have other international laws and treaties which are de facto laws of our nation as well. Amongst them is the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1948. Article three of that declaration states, "Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person."

This is an unequivocal declaration against torture of any kind. "Security of person" is a term used to secure rights such as habeas corpus (suspended under Bush), freedom from torture of any kind (violated under Bush), and freedom from cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment (violated under Bush).

Further, the United Nations treaty called the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Article 9 grants the same rights, "Everyone has the right to liberty and security of person," adding, "No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest or detention. No one shall be deprived of his liberty except on such grounds and in accordance with such procedure as are established by law." (Sec. 1)

It goes on to state that, "Anyone arrested or detained on a criminal charge shall be brought promptly before a judge or other officer authorized by law to exercise judicial power and shall be entitled to trial within a reasonable time or to release." (Sec. 3) Further, "Anyone who has been the victim of unlawful arrest or detention shall have an enforceable right to compensation." (Sec. 5)

The next Article declares, "All persons deprived of their liberty shall be treated with humanity and with respect for the inherent dignity of the human person."

Clearly what is being done and advocated by the present administration is in violation of the law, and it needs to stop.

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