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Children at Jalazoon refugee camp

Every year between 500-700 Palestinian children, some as young as 12, are detained and prosecuted in the Israeli military court system.  

We are calling for:

  • An end to Israel’s night time raids and shackling of Palestinian children
  • Lawyers, parents and video cameras in all interrogations of Palestinian children
  • An end to transferring children to prisons inside Israel in violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention

There is now widespread evidence that most Palestinian child prisoners are arrested at night, forcibly removed from their homes and families without access to legal advice or independent adult supervision. Their hands are tied with plastic ties and they are blindfolded. They are subjected to coercive interrogations, often accompanied by verbal and/or physical abuse and many are shown/sign documents written in Hebrew and detained inside Israel in contravention of Article 76 of the Fourth Geneva Convention.

Defence of Children International statistics on abuse of Palestinian child prisoners
January 2008 January 2012
Hand ties 95% Blindfolds 90%
Physical violence 75% Detention inside Israel 63%
Solitary confinement 60% Confession during interrogation 58%
Threats 57% Verbal abuse/humiliation 54%
Strip searched 33% Transferred on floor of vehicle 32%
Signed/shown documents in Hebrew 29% Arrested between midnight
and 0500

Israel claims that it has addressed concerns, such as the use of single plastic hand ties, with the issue of new military orders. Evidence from the ground suggests these new orders are not being implemented or that other factors relating to the occupation prevent implementation.

UK response

In June 2012, a team of UK lawyers published a FCO-funded, independent report, (‘Children in Military Custody’) on the plight of Palestinian children arrested and detained by Israel. It found that Israel’s treatment of Palestinian child prisoners was in breach of:

– Article 76 of The 4th Geneva Convention

– The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child

The report made 40 recommendations.

The FCO accepted the report’s findings and promised to take them up with the government of Israel. Over a year later very little progress has been made.

That’s simply not good enough.

We want the British Government to:
  • Produce guidance for UK companies to warn them that operations in the occupied Palestinian territories may amount to legal complicity with Israeli violations of international law
  • Block new agreements between the EU and Israel until Israel complies with international law including in its treatment of child prisoners

The UK government has funded an independent legal investigation into the plight of Palestinian child prisoners. The consequent report, ‘Children in Military Custody’, found Israel guilty of at least 6 breaches of the UN Conventions and made over 40 recommendations