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News Do Iraqis have any rights?

  1. Aug 5, 2003 #1
    From what I can see the US military is detaining Iraqi civilians arbitrarily and on a large scale without any kind of due process - No search warrant, no arrest warrant, no lawyer, no bail, no time limit. If the US government tried to arrest people in such a way in the USA there would be an uproar and the government would be sued for squillions. Do Iraqi citizens have any rights at all? Or can a US soldier deprive an Iraqi citizen of their liberty any time on any whim?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 6, 2003 #2
    Haven't you heard? Americans have no rights either, except those which the Justice Department allows us to have. You can be held arbitrarily if you are identified as a troublemaker(read the fine print of the Patriot acts).
     
  4. Aug 6, 2003 #3

    russ_watters

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    Laser Eyes, the concepts you are describing simply do not apply to a war outside our borders. This isn't a simple discussion, but the Geneva Conventions would be a good place to start for learning about the rules of armed conflict. Though implied by some in this forum, I have yet to see any specific instance where the US has violated the Geneva Convention in Iraq. Requests I have made for specific examples have been rebuffed.
     
  5. Aug 14, 2003 #4
    they have the right to remain silent, but they have chosen to waive that right <<rim-shot>>
    No, they don't, because today in Iraq it is the law of the jungle that rules. If Bush were truly smart, in a Machiavellian sense, he'd get his punk ass over to Iraq for a long vacation. Only his presence can restore order there. I'm mad about what's happened and keeps happening there. I'm sick of all the bloodshed. What could've been (and was promoted as) a democratic revolution is obviously a failure far beyond somalia, and could turn into something as screwed up as Israel.
    One fact is unarguable: more Americans die at the hands of Iraqis now than one year ago.
     
  6. Aug 14, 2003 #5

    FZ+

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    We all saw pictures of Iraqi prisoners being taken on live TV didn't we? That breached the geneva convention (Article 13)
     
  7. Aug 14, 2003 #6

    kat

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    I think it's fairly safe to say that article 13 is ambiguous enough to make that claim highly debatable.
     
  8. Aug 14, 2003 #7

    FZ+

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    Protected from public curiosity seems deeply unambiguous to me. Perhaps you might like to de-clarify this point?:wink:
     
  9. Aug 14, 2003 #8

    kat

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    A snippet from an article at "findlaws" site shows at the very least that there is debate within legal circles and that it certainly is not seen as "unambiguous".
    http://writ.news.findlaw.com/commentary/20030326_dworkin.html
     
  10. Aug 15, 2003 #9

    jb

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    they also showed pictures of saddam's bloody boys on tv, who i might add look nothing like them, i don't know enough about international law to know how that fits in to the geneva.

    and i seem to recall bush blackmailing belgium (i think) into dismissing war crimes charges (he threatened to move nato headquarters out of that country, which is bullsh!t, also it got no attention besides a 3 sentence clip in my local newspaper)

    and the iraqis have no rights, because we're bringing democracy to them.

    with more people getting upset about loss of life in iraq, does anybody remember when some of us opposed it in the beginning?
     
  11. Aug 15, 2003 #10
    if POWs are displayed in a public forum s/a on T.V. or in print media, their identities become public knowledge therefore the families are susceptible to intimidation, torture, execution, etc. That's why we make such a big noise about it when it happens to us. Not so big a noise when its some other guy.
     
  12. Aug 15, 2003 #11

    FZ+

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    But to grab another point: Russ, do you consider Iraq to be an ongoing war now, or do you consider other legislation to have taken over, such as the UN agreements on human rights, now that the war is "over"? Either case, I can provide other examples as you asked for.
     
  13. Aug 15, 2003 #12
    I've yet to see Americans (the government of America, to be more precise...) respecting someone's rights or freedom, unless that someone is more powerful or can pay.
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2003
  14. Aug 15, 2003 #13

    russ_watters

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    Not really sure why "other legislation" wouldn't apply during war (guess it depends on the specific legislation) but in any case, I'll take any examples you can give.
     
  15. Aug 16, 2003 #14

    FZ+

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    Ok, From Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

    Article 21 Part 1

    The US has already denied that Baathist part representatives or proponents of theocratic governments be allowed as options in a future vote on the Iraqi government - hence it has denied those people representation as required by the universal declaration.

    By implication, the US is also in breach of article 30.

    Also, hundreds of Iraqi civilians reported to be imprisoned without charge or trial(in conditions that are reported to be very poor) without charge, including children.
    eg. http://www.guardian.co.uk/Iraq/Story/0,2763,1019155,00.html

    This is in breach of article 10 and 11(part 1).

    Specific cases also breach article 9 and 11 part 2:

    [QUOTENo one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile.

    ]No one shall be held guilty of any penal offence on account of any act or omission which did not constitute a penal offence, under national or international law, at the time when it was committed. Nor shall a heavier penalty be imposed than the one that was applicable at the time the penal offence was committed.[/QUOTE]

    The granting of legal immunity to US companies also breaches articles 2 and 7.

    More later.
     
  16. Aug 16, 2003 #15

    russ_watters

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    Anyone except criminals of course. Like the Nazi party after WWII, the Baath party can most certainly be excluded from government. As for proponents of theocratic governments, Iraq will become a democracy. At that time, theocratic elements may very well be voted into power. Please remember that the government isn't finished being set up yet. Its tough to argue that composition of government articles even apply until then. They certainly do not apply to the interim government.
    You asked before whether there was still a war going on. To me thats a question of semantics, but the country is still (clearly) in a state of martial law and will remain so until we get the government set up. That one doesn't apply.

    As far as the legal immunity to US countries goes, I still have yet to see an analysis from a credible legal source. But I'm not sure about it. I do think it is reasonable for some protection to be given to the compaines.

    FZ+, you're reaching here. The violations you cited would apply if we made the current status of Iraq permanent. They most certainly do not apply to a transitional phase. The reconstruction of Germany and Japan are good examples to compare it to.

    I guess now I do understand what you mean by "other legislation" - an independent, funcioning government. Clearly this does not exist. Iraq is in what I would call a transitional state between war and an independent government.
     
  17. Aug 16, 2003 #16

    jcsd

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    Showing picture of dead bodies on TV doesn't violate any of the Geneva Conventions as the parts governing them merely make provisos for burial arrangments and contacting the families.

    Whether or not showing POWs is against the Geneva Convention Relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War is debatable, it's more a sign of Bush et al's hypocrisy over the standards that they think should apply to US troops vs the standards that they think should apply to foreign troops.
     
  18. Aug 16, 2003 #17

    jcsd

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    No the 4th Geneva Convention applies always when a country or countries are occupying another.
     
  19. Aug 16, 2003 #18

    russ_watters

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    I wasn't referring to the Geneva convention. FZ+ cited other international law.
     
  20. Aug 16, 2003 #19

    jcsd

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    Well, As you can see from FZ's post the universal declaration applies universally without exception, under humanitarian law you cannot suspend inviolable huamn rights when it suits you.
     
  21. Aug 16, 2003 #20

    kat

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    This is not entirely true, it does not apply "without exception" the exception is always that if the implementation of the universal declaration threatens more basic human rights, such as security, life, hunger..etc. then the more basic human rights are upheld primarily.

    I think much of FZ's complaints were taken care of in May when the United Nations Security Council gave the US and Britain authority to administer Iraq. Even more so when the interim government's legitimacy was recognized br the United Nations resolution that called for the formation of an interim administration under the American-British occupation.
     
  22. Aug 17, 2003 #21
    From what I've read on 'military families speak out dot org' and such, reports from Iraq are of a low-level but serious urban guerrilla war. Our great heros at the phone and power companies are having trouble getting their services running there; its just very dangerous to work there. FZ, are you really surprised that the US would flaunt the Geneva convention? After all, its just a set of principles on paper. It only has the power that the UN gives it.
     
  23. Aug 17, 2003 #22

    FZ+

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    Schwarz: Not really. In fact, in cases such as showing the dead sons of Saddam, I agree with the actions the US has taken. However, I am simply correcting Russ's implication that accusations of the US breaching human rights are made up - as plainly examples show they are not. I am not making a judgement call on whether these human rights are absolute, or whether sometimes other things are more important. In some of these cases, we can find some justification of course. But then, we can also find cases where we find the US actions to be dubious even though it has not specifically breached a convention.


    Russ:
    Except, it doesn't say that. It says everyone. And those people who are loyal to Saddam are not all criminals - some are perhaps deluded etc. The pedant might note that the nazi case, including the de-nazification programme after the war, was another case in which the rights of the people were overruled - for better or worse.

    I'll fetch the quote, but an US spokeperson expressed said that proponents of a religious state will not be available as options in any future election for the Iraqi government. In this case, any further government must neccessarily be in breach of their human rights.



    So, you would say that Bush is lying, and the war in Iraq is still on? Ok, let's pretend that the UD doesn't apply, and ignore your earlier statement where you agreed that these legislation should apply at all times (accidentally breaking article 30 and article 5 of the geneva convention again..). Then we go back to the geneva convention(this time relative to the treatment of civilians), which states:

    Did I mention the prisoners were denied contact with their families. Oops, another breach.

    I did warn you... There are far more breaches in the geneva convention that in the more general laws of the universal declaration.

    The question is not whether it is reasonable or not. The action itself is a serious breach of Iraq Human Rights. By law.

    Kat:
    The universal declaration are the basic human rights. The articles listed include the hunger, life etc rights.
    The declaration expressedly forbids the active sacrifice of one right for another.

    The UN cannot absolve the US of any of these articles, becauyse in doing so, it would be breaking article 30 itself. The government issues do not refer to the current government, but the guidelines issued for the formation of the future "democratic" administration in Iraq.
     
  24. Aug 17, 2003 #23

    kat

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    You'd have to show me where the declaration forbids sacrafice of one right over the other. As for Article 30 it is very explicit (as it should be) in that it applies to "any act aimed at the destruction" This section does NOT cover implementation of rights that were not previously being implemented.

    You are mistaken, The Universal Declaration provides for the United Nations authority in Article 29 Section 3
    The basic human rights of basic health needs, relief from hunger, security etc. ARE ALWAYS the primary focus when implementing The Universal Declaration, implemented prior to all others.
     
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2003
  25. Aug 17, 2003 #24

    FZ+

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    Where does it set down an order of precedence for each right?

    In that case, the US has already broken article 30 by the invasion of Iraq, in which it generated a poor standard of living, where according to you the actions of Saddam's regime were so far down the list of rights.

    Please list the article where it says that.

    One might not that the standard of living etc is article 25, while representation in government is article number 21.

    This section is also very explicit (as it should be). This means that the measures taken by the US to establish any of these rights require the agreement of the UN general assembly or security council. As that vote did not take place, the US occupation is inherently in breach of this article. The US remains in breach as that article, if we accept your interpretation of the following one, refers only to the implementation of new rights, not legitimising the destruction of previous ones. (Though we may note in passing article 28, which still places the duty firmly on the US to form a representative government, no matter if it was in place before, or not.)
     
  26. Aug 17, 2003 #25

    kat

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    It gives no guidelines on implementation whatsoever, this does not mean you assume that they must all be implemented simultaniously.
    I think, if you research, you will find that you cannot "break" declarations. Declarations are not binding. However, International covenants and conventions have the force of law for the countries that ratify them.




    In practice, this is the way it is and has been practiced by both the U.N. and NATO. The declaration does not cover the steps to implementation nor does it cover responsibility.



    Again, a declaration is not binding and cannot be "breached". If it were the entire middle east would be in breach.
     
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2003
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