Monday, 14 March 2016

Opposing Child Detainees in Occupied Palestine Territories

I have for a number  of years now, sadly heard of random, and night time arrests of young children in Occupied Palestinian Territories that have resulted in unethical trial procedures and poor conditions in military detentions and aftercare. It has concerned me greatly.
Figures for the number of Palestinian children detained in Israeli jails varies greatly, but by October 2015 there have been reports,  that 171 children were being detained. A month later, nearly 800 Palestinian children ( and minors under the age of 18 ) had been arrested and the number of children in Israeli gaols had risen to nearly 340. Most of the detained children were from occupied Jerusalem and the West Bank, as well as arrests made in Gaza.
In  June 20012,  a delegation of nine UK lawyers published a Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCU) funded, independent report ( " Children in Military Custody" )  on the plight of  Palestinian children arrested and detained in Israel. The report found that Israel's treatment of Palestinian child prisoners was in breach pf Article 76 of the Geneva Convention on the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War ( concerning occupied territories and several articles of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
The  report made 43 recommendations and the UK Government, at the time promised to take up the issues  with the Israeli Government:-
Back in 2013, Israel submitted a periodic report to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, which set out to monitor the implementation of the Convention. The Committee responded in June 2013 saying that  it regretted Israel's :-

" persistent refusal to provide information and data and to respond to the Committees's written questions of children living in the Occupied Palestinian Territory."

Many children   detained are denied access  to a lawyer and are not entitled to family visits,  furthermore hardly any education is provided, which is in contravention   of the Geneva Convention  and multiple human rights treaties. For adults detention can be stressful and dangerous, but for children can be even more so. Many  sentenced or incarcenated because of suspicion of throwing stones, or releasing frustration in defiance of the Israeli armies illegal occupation. Detained children exhibiting symptoms of trauma, injustice, mistrust of others, combined with feelings of helplessness and worthlessness., OCD, disorder, hostility and aggression, withdrawal and lack of motivation.
I have written to my own M.P expressing my concerns, it is good to report that  he is in agreement at the the injustice of this situation, I would urge you to keep  pressuring your own individual representatives to do more to rectify this situation and  move more in pursuit of peace and justice.
Lets not forget that Israel remains a signatory to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child , which among other provisions requires; " that a child not be compelled to give testimony or to confess or acknowledge guilt." and clearly states that detention or arrest should be used as a lat resort.
The use of interrogation techniques of mental and physical abuse that include threats of intimidation  and physical violence must end, this continual violation of children's rights, that the international community must continue to speak out against in order to demand justice and accountability. Seeking to challenge Israels prolonged military occupation of Palestinians , demanding immediate protections for Palestinian children currently held in Israeli military detention where ill-treatment and torture is widespread and systematic.
Until the day that Israel stops its stubborn continual violation of international law with regards to Palestinian child prisoners and detainees.
Detainment and imprisonment will only serve to keep the cycle of violence and fear in this region ongoing that in the end securitises children, we must continue to speak for them, as conscious , right bearing subjects, that have the seeds of the future in their pockets.
As long as Israel avoids international accountability that human rights groups are urging , children will  unfortunately continue to bear the brunt of the escalating violence that Israel uses to maintain its occupation, that offers no everlasting hope.

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