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  Prisoners of war
Updated 24 March 2003, 16.28


Citizenship 11-14/KS3/Levels E&F
The United Nations

Overview
Prisoners of war are protected by international laws and conventions.

This activity explores the human rights issues surrounding the Geneva Convention.

Learning aims

  • Why the Geneva Convention is important

  • Why human rights need to be upheld

Icebreaker
Read the story

Ask the class:

  • Should prisoners of war be shown on TV?

  • What can be done to protect them?

  • How do you think the prisoners on both sides are feeling?

Introduce the phrases 'human rights' and 'Geneva Convention' and ask the class about their existing knowledge.


Main Activity
Divide the class into small groups. The students work through these questions in their groups.

1. How would you define 'human rights'?

Something that protects you from being abused by others.

2. What rights do we have?

  • Right to life
  • Right to a fair trial
  • Freedom from torture
  • Right to protest
  • Freedom from discrimination
  • Right to privacy

3. Can you place these rights in order of importance?

4. How should the coalition forces and Iraq treat their prisoners?

Article 13 of the Third Geneva Convention says that prisoners of war must at all times be protected against insult and public curiosity.

5. Do you think prisoners will be treated humanely?

6. What would you do if someone violated your rights?

Protest, go to the Press, phone a lawyer.

7. What can be done to ensure that prisoner's rights are being upheld?

Thorough examinations by independent groups, eg The Red Cross and Amnesty.

Extension activity
Ask the students: "What can nations do to make sure they do not break the Geneva Convention?"

Plenary
Groups feedback ideas: Focus the discussion on why human rights are necessary and how they should be upheld.

Teachers' Background

  • Prisoners of war are entitled to visits by the International Committee of the Red Cross.

  • An ICRC spokeswoman, Nada Doumani, said prisoners of war should not be subject to public exposure.

  • There are restrictions on the interrogation of prisoners-of-war contained in the Geneva conventions.

  • Prisoners are protected by the international human rights laws.

  • These laws require humane conditions of detention and fair trials in the event of prosecutions.

  • The broadcast of the videotape - which received a worldwide airing on the Arabic TV station al-Jazeera - has been condemned by the US and British governments, and by commanders of US-led coalition forces in Iraq.

For all links and resources click at top right.


More InfoBORDER=0
TeachersTask: The Red Cross
TeachersTask: Introduction to the UN
WorldAmerican troops killed in Iraqi fighting

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Past StoriesBORDER=0
The UN's Geneva Convention

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Web Links
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Geneva Convention relating to Prisoners of War
Note: You will leave CBBC. We are not responsible for other websites.

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