Position Paper on the Topic of Prisoners' Rights

Committee: United Nations Human Rights Council
Topic Area A: Prisoners’ rights
Country: Norway
Delegate: Hujia Yu

The treatment of prisoners differs under different context, during the passed decades, a certain number of series of international laws have been passed to protect prisoners, of which the Geneva Conventions, as a series of international agreements that protect sodiers and civilians during wartime, are probably the most crucial ones. Although the Geneva Conventions are monitored by ICRC, it’s up to each country to decide wheather they enforce them within its borders. Because of this element of selectivity, the generation of the Geneva Conventions couldn’t be able to reach its expected effect to some extent. The World War II saw a typical difference on the treatments towards POWs: The Allied Forces, including the Soviet Union, England, and the US, treated the German soldiers they captured in different ways. German prisoners faced harsh conditions in the Soviet Union,where food and clothing were scarce. Out of roughly 90,000 German POWs at Stalingrad, only around 5,000 survived their imprisonment. In contrast, German prisoners in England and the United States had food, medical care, and were even paid low wages for working.   However, some prisoners have also showed their demand for basic human rights through various ways. In the early 20th cuntury, members of the Irish Republican Army(IRA) fought a war for Irish independence from Britain, during which many of the sodiers were captured and held in British prisons. In 1981, ten IRA members starved themselves to death in captivity because of the poor treatment. After the hunger strike, British authorities changed the way they treated IRA prisoners. Although the IRA prisoners were still detainees, they were given more freedom than most POWs. This provides us with an example of the prisoners’ successfully fighting over their deserved human rights. As an increasing number of countries have been more aware...