Samoan Police lock up three-year-old boy

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The little boy in the cell. [Photo: Samoa Observer/Supplied]

Samoa Observer today reported that a three year old boy was thrown into a cell at the Police Station in Apia with his father. According to the article by Ilia Likou, the father who was taken in for a traffic violation was not given the chance to make arrangements for son, but was immediately thrown into the cell by the attending Police Officers.

Describing the incident to the daily, the father said he was taken into the Police station in Apia.

“They then took me with my three-year-old son to their office at Apia at nearly twelve midday. Within minutes, we were thrown straight into the cell.”

The father said he told the officers where his son should be taken to, but they did not pay any attention to him and instead threw both him and his son in the cell.

The full story can be found here. But Sefulu Ono Aso is appalled at this incident and urges the powers that be, to launch a full investigation into this matter.

By throwing the three year old child into the cell, the Police Officers breached several national and international regulations and conventions relating to the right of this child, namely the Convention on the Rights of the Child [CRC] ratified by Samoa in November of 1994.

The CRC is a human rights treaty which sets out the civil, political, economic, social, health and cultural rights of children. The Convention defines a child as any human being under the age of eighteen.

CRC specifically states under Article 37 that:
States Parties shall ensure that:
(a) No child shall be subjected to torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
(b) No child shall be deprived of his or her liberty unlawfully or arbitrarily. The arrest, detention or imprisonment of a child shall be in conformity with the law and shall be used only as a measure of last resort and for the shortest appropriate period of time;

(c) Every child deprived of liberty shall be treated with humanity and respect for the inherent dignity of the human person, and in a manner which takes into account the needs of persons of his or her age;

(d) Every child deprived of his or her liberty shall have the right to prompt access to legal and other appropriate assistance, as well as the right to challenge the legality of the deprivation of his or her liberty before a court or other competent, independent and impartial authority, and to a prompt decision on any such action.

I’m no lawyer, but by reading this particular excerpt from CRC, it’s fair to say that the officers, imprisoned a child without reason, deprived him of his liberty unlawfully, was ill-treated by putting him in a heated cell without access to food or water, and held him against his will.

Something needs to be done about this. Our children should never be subject to this type of treatment, not now, nor ever. There are strict protocols involving the treatment of children, and this is a massive human rights violation that needs international attention.

Nations that ratify this convention are bound to it by international law. Compliance is monitored by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child and Governments of countries that have ratified the Convention are required to report to, and appear before, the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child periodically to be examined on their progress with regards to the advancement of the implementation of the Convention and the status of child rights in their country.

By creating international awareness of the treatment of this one child, we can ensure that at the next reporting by our Government to the CRC Committee, this issue is raised, if not by our Government then by the Committee themselves.

Ultimately, by creating more awareness the authorities are forced to act on improving their knowledge and implementation of the international human rights treaties that prohibit such actions.

To read the convention click here.

To read the original story click here.

To campaign for an investigation on this matter please use this hashtag: #tamaititijustice

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