UNICEF reports that Israel mistreats Palestinian children in custody

UNICEF (The United Nations Children Fund)  estimated that about 700 Palestinian children aged 12-17, most boys, are arrested, interrogated and then detained by the Israeli Police, IDF and/or security agents in the West Bank each year.

By Reuters

 

Palestinian children detained by the Israel Defense Forces are subject to widespread, systematic ill-treatment that violates international law, a UNICEF report said on Wednesday.

Palestinian protest UN - AP - 22.9.2011

Palestinians school children participating in a demonstration in support of the Palestinian bid for statehood recognition in the UN in the West Bank city of Ramallah, Sept. 22, 2011. – Photo by AP

The United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) estimated that 700 Palestinian children aged 12-17, most of them boys, are arrested, interrogated and detained by the Israeli military, police and security agents every year in the West Bank.

UNICEF said it had identified some “examples of practices that amount to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment according to the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Convention against Torture”.

Israel’s military and foreign ministry declined immediate comment on the findings.

According to the report, ill-treatment of Palestinian minors typically begins with the arrest itself, often carried out in the middle of the night by heavily armed soldiers, and continues all the way through prosecution and sentencing.

“The pattern of ill-treatment includes … the practice of blindfolding children and tying their hands with plastic ties, physical and verbal abuse during transfer to an interrogation site, including the use of painful restraints,” the report said.

It said minors, most of whom are arrested for throwing stones, suffer physical violence and threats during the interrogation, are coerced into confession and do not have immediate access to a lawyer or family during questioning.

“Treatment inconsistent with child rights continues during court appearances, including shackling of children, denial of bail and imposition of custodial sentences and transfer of children outside occupied Palestinian territory to serve their sentences inside Israel,” the report said.

Such practice “appears to be widespread, systematic and institutionalized,” it added.

UNICEF based its findings on more than 400 cases documented since 2009 as well as legal papers, reports by governmental and non-governmental groups and interviews with Palestinian minors and with Israeli and Palestinian officials and lawyers.

The report said Israel had made some “positive changes” in recent years in its treatment of Palestinian minors, including new hand-tying procedures meant to prevent pain and injury.

It also noted as an improvement a military order given in2010 that requires Israeli police to notify parents about the arrest of their children and to inform children that they have the right to consult a lawyer.

 

View original HAARETZ publication at: http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/israel-mistreats-palestinian-children-in-custody-unicef-reports-1.507665

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