Children should never be detained except as a last resort
The DSA is a draconian law that leaves much room for misinterpretation. Furthermore, the law is frequently abused by vested quarters to take action against anyone they do not see eye to eye with. The most regretful use of this law, however, is when it is used against minors.
Indeed, it is our duty to protect and nurture children from harm, but arresting children under the DSA does exactly the opposite. It is a human rights violation, and does not bode well for the human rights situation of our nation.
Just last week, a teenage boy in his early teens was arrested on the grounds of a Facebook post. This case was put forward by a local political leader, following which the boy was sent to a juvenile detention centre, with his parents’ apologies on his behalf and plea for his release falling on deaf ears. Not for nothing then, has this harsh law come under criticism from all quarters.
Children should never be detained except as a last resort. Indeed, doing so is a violation of international human rights laws. As such, any individual under the age of 18 should be outside the scope of the Digital Security Act. Certainly, no good can come of putting more children in our already overcrowded detention centres.
But the fundamental problem comes back to a matter of the rights of children: Legal systems all over the world put children in a different category from adults, with good reason. In this case, instead of protecting the innocence of minors, the law is abusing them. This is a grim picture, and flies in the face of all the progress we claim to have made.