The Israelis are abusing the human rights of Palestinian children, according to a delegation of lawyers from the UK.
Their investigation revealed that Israel was breaking international law, including at least 6 violations of the UN convention on the rights of children, as well as the violation of the Geneva Convention (which prohibits the transfer of children from the West Bank to prisons in Israel).
Furthermore, a comparison between the treatment of Israeli children and Palestinian children revealed discrimination. Palestinian children were worse off in terms of time they were held before being brought before the judge, having access to a lawyer and before being charged.
Their report also described “night-time arrests, the use of blindfolds and painful plastic wrist ties, physical and/or verbal abuse, the failure to be informed of the right to silence or to see a lawyer, solitary confinement, self-incrimination, children being made to sign statements in Hebrew which they could not understand and extremely restricted access to family.”
We, the undersigned, condemn Israel for the way it treats Palestinian children in detention.
The mistreatment of minors outlined in the “Children in Military Custody” report are shocking and clearly violations of the human rights of these children. There are international laws put in place to protect children from mistreatment and Israel should abide by them. For example, the Geneva Convention prohibits the transfer of detainees from the West Bank to Israel.
With regards to human rights, we disagree with the practices of putting children in shackles or solitary confinement, carrying out night-time arrests, using blindfolds and painful plastic wrist ties, physical and/or verbal abuse, failing to inform them of the right to silence or to see a lawyer, making them sign statements in Hebrew which they cannot not understand and extremely restricted access to family. Such activities can leave children traumatised, possibly in the long term.
Furthermore, we believe that it is wholly unjustifiable to have one set of laws on how to deal with Israeli children who have committed offences and another for Palestinian young offenders. There is no reason for such discrimination and Israel, as the occupying power in the West Bank, should treat children equally, regardless of identity.
We call on Israel to review the treatment of Palestinian children and implement improvements to avoid the continued mistreatment and injustices currently taking place.
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