US tells UN it detains about 500 juveniles in Iraq, 10 in Afghanistan

The US military is holding about 500 juveniles suspected of being "unlawful enemy combatants" in detention centers in Iraq and has about 10 detained at the US base at Bagram, Afghanistan, the United States has told the United Nations. A total of 2,500 youths under the age of 18 have been detained, almost all in Iraq, for periods up to a year or more in President George W. Bush's anti-terrorism campaign since 2002, the United States reported last week to the UN's Committee on the Rights of the Child. Civil liberties groups such as the International Justice Network and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) denounced the detentions as abhorrent, and a violation of US treaty obligations. In the periodic report to the United Nations on US compliance with the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the United States confirmed that "As of April 2008, the United States held about 500 juveniles in Iraq." "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 US and Coalition forces," the US report said.