Repeal "Habeas Corpus Act"

Description: WA General Assembly Resolution #190: Habeas Corpus Act (Category: Human Rights; Strength: Strong) shall be struck out and rendered null and void.


APPLAUDS the aim of protecting individuals from unreasonable detainment practices.

REALIZES, however, that the specific time limits listed within the resolution’s text may risk the safety and prosperity of WA member nations; for example:

Clause 1 may require WA member nations to criminalize otherwise non-criminal offenses for the purposes of public safety.

    Government-provided child protective services would be severely limited to a maximum of 6 hours per 7 day period, due to shortcomings in GAR#19, Child Protection Act, in combination with GAR#190. This limit would apply to, for example, children who are removed from their homes due to suspicions of parental/guardian abuse.

    Non-criminal detainment of intoxicated individuals is limited to a maximum of 6 hours per 7 day period. This may not be sufficient to allow individuals to be held for the duration of their intoxication.

    Six hours of administrative detainment for illegal immigrants may be insufficient to accurately determine where such individuals originated from prior to their deportation.

There are no exceptions granted for Clauses 1 & 2 with regards to “special circumstances.”

    Some suspects may be considered a “flight risk” if they are not detained while sufficient evidence is collected and compiled for the purposes of charging them with a crime. This process may take longer than the maximum time allowed.

    Some crimes, such as terrorist attacks or serial killings, may be especially complicated, which would require additional detainment time before charges can be formally filed. Such a circumstance is outlawed.

DETAILS that Clause 6 outlaws any detainment for criminal offenses that are only punishable by a fine, which may require WA member nations to change their penal code to include the possibility of jail time for such offenses.

QUOTES the following line in the resolution’s text, which reads: “CLARIFIES that nothing in this resolution shall be interpreted as prohibiting any of the following,” and

SPECIFIES that the aforementioned phrasing does not in any way exempt the following items from any of the preceding clauses of the resolution. Therefore, “Involuntary psychiatric commitment” and “Medical quarantines” are not prohibited but are limited, such that they are only allowed for up to 6 hours within 7 days in the absence of criminal suspicion. As a result:

Individuals who undergo “involuntary psychiatric commitment” must be treated and released after 6 hours. Most psychiatric treatments take multiple days, if not weeks or months, to be fully effective. This 6 hour limit prevents WA member nations from providing effective treatment to these individuals.

An individual cannot be “medical(ly) quarantine(d)” for more than 6 hours. This negates the quarantining efforts as, even with appropriate treatment, individuals will typically remain contagious after such a short period of time.

NOTES that Clause 12 unintentionally bans all medical quarantines for infections that are not at risk of causing a pandemic but do have the potential to cause widespread harm within a limited geographic area, even though such quarantines may be in the best interests of overall public health.

HOPES that an improved version of the Habeas Corpus protections will be considered by this Assembly.

REPEALS GAR#190, Habeas Corpus Act.

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