All Juvenile Detainees Must Be Released From Guantanamo

New York, 25 August 2009- Radhika Coomaraswamy, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict welcomes the release of Mohammed Jawad from Guantanamo Bay detention camp.

Mohammed Jawad was one of the youngest detainees and was freed after almost seven years in detention. He was accused of throwing a grenade at a vehicle with two American soldiers in Afghanistan in 2002. A military judge ruled that he had been coerced into confession and ordered his release.

Jawad is also one of the last three juveniles in the detention camp who were under the age of 18 when they allegedly committed their crimes. Mohammed El-Gharani was released recently and Omar Khadr's case is still under consideration.

The Special Representative commends the decision of the U.S. Government. She claimed that it abides by the spirit of the United Nations Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict and other international standards and practice. "Trying young people for war crimes with regards to alleged acts committed when they were minors would have created a dangerous international precedent," she stated.

Radhika Coomaraswamy hopes that Omar Kadhr will also be released as soon as possible.

For further information, please contact: Laurence Gérard, Communications Officer, Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary General for Children and Armed Conflict – +1212-963-0984– gerardl@un.org