United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Practice Relating to Rule 120. Accommodation for Children Deprived of Their Liberty
The UK Military Manual (1958) states: “The general provisions of [the 1949 Geneva Convention IV] lay down, inter alia
, … that as far as possible families must not be separated but must be given separate accommodation as family units.”
The UK LOAC Manual (2004) states: “If arrested, detained or interned for reasons connected with the armed conflict, children must be kept in separate quarters from adults unless they belong to an interned family unit.”
In presenting his government’s report to the Human Rights Committee in 1985, the UK representative explained that while a derogation from the provision on housing detained minors separately from adults had been necessitated by the large numbers of juveniles convicted of terrorist offences, the situation had been remedied by the construction of two new juvenile detention centres.
Upon ratification of the 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child, the United Kingdom reserved the right not to apply Article 37(c) “where at any time there is a lack of suitable accommodation or adequate facilities for a particular individual in any institution in which young offenders are detained, or where the mixing of adults and children is deemed to be mutually beneficial”.
In 2004, in a written answer to a question concerning “the document issued to service personnel announcing the ban on the use of hoods for Iraqi prisoners”, the UK Secretary of State for Defence stated:
An amended Standard Operating Instruction on the Policy for Apprehending, Handling and Processing Detainees and Internees was issued on 30 September 2003. The following section of the document contains the relevant information.
a. Apprehended individuals are to be treated at all times fairly, humanely and with respect for his or her personal dignity;
i. Juveniles (under 15) are to be segregated from other apprehended individuals unless to do so would impose solitary confinement on the individual; and
j. It is a command responsibility to ensure that all apprehended individuals are treated in accordance with these principles.
In 2004, in a written answer to a question concerning prison facilities for children in Iraq, the UK Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, stated:
There are no facilities in Iraq under the control of Coalition forces that are solely for prisoners under the age of 18. However, prisoners under the age of 18 are separated from adult prisoners, unless they are housed with family members.