A UNICEF report indicates a measurable deterioration in the treatment of Palestinian children held in Israeli military detention in the months since the UN organization recommended serious changes.
By Gerard Horton
In March 2013, UNICEF published a report – Children in Israeli Military Detention. The report’s main finding was that the ill-treatment of children who come in contact with the military detention system appears to be widespread, systematic and institutionalized throughout the process.
In response to these findings, the Israeli Foreign Ministry stated it would study the conclusions and work to implement the 38 recommendations through ongoing cooperation with UNICEF.
Since the publication of the report in March, UNICEF has continued to monitor the treatment of children through the Monitoring and Reporting Mechanism on Grave Child Rights Violations. Pursuant to this mechanism, UNICEF has collected 19 affidavits from children detained between April and June 2013. Following an analysis of these affidavits, UNICEF found that in 100 percent of cases boys reported being painfully tied and 84 percent said they were blindfolded. Without exception, every boy reported being subjected to physical violence, including beatings to the head and face or being hit with metal objects.
According to UNICEF, in no case were boys informed that they had a right to consult with a lawyer before being interrogated and no child was accompanied by a parent during questioning – rights generally afforded to Israeli children living in the settlements – a situation that amounts to unlawful discrimination. UNICEF’s findings also accords with evidence collected by Military Court Watch which suggests that very few children are being informed of their right to silence prior to interrogation.
Although based on a relatively small sample, the data released by UNICEF indicates a measurable deterioration in the treatment of children held in Israeli military detention in the three months following the release of the report. This point was made in a public statement issued by Military Court Watch (UNICEF data indicates deteriorating situation for child detainees) and is confirmed by testimonies collected during the same period, including one case in which a 15-year-old boy alleges that he was tasered while being interrogated in the police station in the...Read More