Israel’s armed forces and grave violations of children’s rights

Today, the UN Human Rights Council held a general debate on the situation in the occupied Palestinian territories. On this occasion, Defence for Children International – Palestine delivered an oral statement to raise concerns over the grave violations of Palestinian children’s rights, including the use of administrative detention and solitary confinement, and shared key recommendations.

Please find the statement hereunder

Israel has the dubious distinction of being the only country in the world that systematically prosecutes between 500 and 700 children each year in military courts lacking fundamental fair trial rights.

Amid heightened violence in the fall of 2015, the number of Palestinian children detained in the Israeli prison system skyrocketed. At the end of March 2016, 444 Palestinian children were in the Israeli prison system, the highest known total since January 2008 when the Israel Prison Service (IPS) began sharing data. The IPS stopped consistently releasing data since May 2016.

In 2016, DCIP collected affidavits from 158 West Bank children detained by Israeli forces and prosecuted under the jurisdiction of Israeli military courts. The data shows that 62 percent of children endured some form of physical violence following arrest and 52 percent were verbally abused, intimidated, or threatened.

Of the 158 children, 25 were held in solitary confinement for an average period of 16 days for interrogation purposes, an alarming increase over the previous year. The longest period of isolation for a child that DCIP documented in 2016 was 29 days.

In October 2015, Israel renewed the practice of administrative detention against Palestinian children in the West Bank for the first time in four years. Administrative detention is the imprisonment of individuals by the state for prolonged periods without charge or trial and based on secret evidence.

DCIP has documented the use of administrative detention against 14 children in 2016. Five Palestinian children were placed in administrative detention following accusations of inciting or threatening to commit violence in Facebook posts.

Additionally, Israeli forces and security guards killed 32 Palestinian children in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, in 2016, making it the deadliest year of the past decade for West Bank children.

Defence for Children International urges all members of the Human Rights Council to:

Demand that Israeli authorities immediately stop the use of administrative detention orders against Palestinian children and enshrine this prohibition in law;

Condemn Israeli forces’ use of excessive force in against Palestinians the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem; and

Demand that Israeli forces at all times act in accordance with the UN Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials (1990).

Download the statement in PDF format

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