In this written submission to the Defence Committee's inquiry into the work of the Service Complaints Ombudsman, we focus on how issues with the complaints system may affect the youngest serving personnel in the armed forces, particularly those under 18 years old, and recommend that the youngest members of the armed forces are considered as a distinct group in relation to the functioning of the service complaints system.
The human rights organisation Liberty campaign on Soldier's Rights and have addressed a number of substantial concerns with the military justice system in recent years.
With the recent reporting about relaxed rules of engagement in Iraq and Afghanistan, we take a quick look at some of the key questions around the allegations of abuse and killing by UK troops.
We welcome Liberty's Second Rate Justice report and the launch of their new Human Rights Helpline for the UK Armed Forces.
This submission made by ForcesWatch and Quakers in Scotland to the Scottish Parliament's human rights inquiry details our concerns around the need for regulation and transparent accountability of military activities in schools, the lack of education about peace and human rights, and the continued recruitment of children into the UK armed forces.
On the day that the Harrogate abuse court martials were dropped and the press was allowed to comment after reporting restrictions were lifted, there was coverage in almost all the major news outlets. Our comments, and those of partner organisations, were also reported.
Three cases involving over 40 claimants and 16 Army instructors have collapsed, raising a number of serious concerns about failings within the military justice system. As a result, serious allegations of abuse against very young recruits have not been tested. We call for changes to the system and question whether a military environment where aggression is fostered will ever be condusive to the wellbeing of young recruits.
With the presence of the military in public spaces increasing and a high level of popularity for the armed forces, it is not always easy to respond to challenging questions that people pose in when faced with concerns expressed about militarism. In this briefing we explore some responses to questions about how much the armed forces should be involved in our everyday lives, how they relate to young people, and the effectiveness and consequences of military action.
The Committee on the Rights of the Child recently reviewed the UK's position on implementing the articles and protocols of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. They made a number of recommendations relating to the armed forces recruitment of under-18s and the military's activities in schools.
‘Commonsense and Understanding’: Recommendations from the Defence Committee’s Duty of Care report that are still outstanding 10 years on
This report highlights seven recommendations from the Defence Committee’s report Duty of Care: Third Report of Session 2004-05 which have not been partially or fully implemented, and around which substantial concerns remain.
This report then discusses the concept of 'in loco parentis' and 'moral obligation' with regard to the army's duty of care towards young recruits, noting that the Defence Committee were concerned in 2005 that the MoD distinguished too rigidly between legal and moral obligations, with the latter as less important.
In 2005, the Defence Committee discussed the lack of balance beween training needs and considerations for operational effectiveness, and thus made its recommendations. Ten years on, it is apparent that operational arguments, and current difficulties meeting recruiting targets, continue to prevent the armed forces from reviewing both their position on enlisting under-18s, and their recruitment practices and materials.