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Aglukkaq 'disturbed' that Taliban POWs offered H1N1 shots

Federal Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq is getting into a conflict with the Geneva Conventions about Canadian treatment of Taliban POWs in Afghanistan.

A story from The Canadian Press reported today that Taliban prisoners would be offered H1N1 vaccinations.

As reported by Bloomberg, Aglukkaq said the decision was "outrageous ... I'm disturbed by it."

However, as both the CP and Bloomberg reports make clear, Canada as a signatory to the Geneva Conventions, must respect Article 15 of the Third Geneva Convention:

The Power detaining prisoners of war shall be bound to provide free of charge for their maintenance and for the medical attention required by their state of health.

Bloomberg also quotes UBC law professor Michael Byers: "It's full equality of treatment for both sides with respect to provision of medical services, and that's exactly what is happening with the vaccine and what should happen."

Meanwhile, the Washington Post reported today that detainees at Guantanamo were unlikely to get any of the 300 H1N1 vaccine doses now available at the base.

Crawford Kilian is a contributing editor of The Tyee.

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