[News] Palestine - In the first quarter of 2006 alone, some 350 children were arrested

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Tue Apr 25 08:47:48 EDT 2006

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It is a sad irony that Palestinian Prisoners Day 
- 17 April - comes this year as massive numbers 
of Palestinian children are being arrested and 
detained by Israeli forces. In the first quarter 
of 2006 alone, some 350 children were arrested – 
compared to around 700 child arrests in the whole 
of 2005. The vast increase in arrests is in turn 
leading to overcrowding in prisons as record 
numbers of juveniles are being held in unsuitable and unhygienic conditions.

Since the beginning of this Intifada in September 
2000, Israeli forces have arrested around 4,000 
Palestinian children, 400 of whom are still in 
Israeli prisons and detention centers. The 
process of arrest and detention of Palestinian 
children is a process of systematic abuse and 
mistreatment which flouts international legal 
standards and denies the basic human rights of 
detainees first as children and secondly as prisoners.

In affidavits and interviews with DCI/PS lawyers, 
children have told how they are handcuffed and 
blindfolded, humiliated and threatened and often 
beaten and kicked from the moment they are 
arrested up to and often throughout their 
interrogation and detention. They are deprived of 
sleep, food and access to the bathroom until 
so-called confessions are coerced out of them and 
only then are most children allowed to see their 
lawyer. Such interrogation is aimed at extracting 
quick confessions from children to prosecute them 
and others before military courts, which 
themselves strive to provide a legal veneer to 
the illegitimate practices of the Israeli military.

Even after sentencing, the pattern of violence 
and abuse does not stop. While it is a widely 
recognized principle that the deprivation of 
liberty is itself the penalty for perpetrating 
certain offences, Israel continues to actively 
punish Palestinian children during their 
incarceration. The punishments imposed are 
disproportionate to the alleged offences and seem 
intended not to reform or rehabilitate prisoners, 
but to humiliate and intimidate the children and, 
on as broader level, break the spirit and 
resistance of the Palestinian community.

Ultimately these Israeli practices against child 
prisoners contravene a vast array of human rights 
instruments including those to which Israel is a 
state party, such as the 
Convention Against Torture and the 
Convention on the Rights of the Child, article 37 
of which requires states parties to ensure that:

(a) No child shall be subjected to torture or 
other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or 
punishment. Neither capital punishment nor life 
imprisonment without possibility of release shall 
be imposed for offences committed by persons below eighteen years of age;

(b) No child shall be deprived of his or her 
liberty unlawfully or arbitrarily. The arrest, 
detention or imprisonment of a child shall be in 
conformity with the law and shall be used only as 
a measure of last resort and for the shortest appropriate period of time;

Given the maltreatment of Palestinian child 
detainees, the institutionalized discrimination 
against them, and the absence of appropriate 
legal guarantees, Defence for Children 
International/Palestine Section urges the UN, the 
Secretary General and all the UN bodies, the 
International Committee of the Red Cross and the 
High Contracting parties to the 
Geneva Convention to insist that the Israeli 
government respects and abides by its commitments 
and obligations under international humanitarian and human rights law.

On the occasion of Palestinian Prisoners' Day, 
DCI/PS also asks all parties to prioritize the 
issue of child prisoners and put their immediate 
and unconditional release at the top of the 
agenda of any future discussions and to insist 
that Israeli occupation forces cease at once 
further arrests of Palestinian juveniles in the 
Occupied Palestinian Territories.

More information
    * Defence for Children International – 
Palestin Section, 
Series on Palestinian Child Political Prisoners: 
Palestinian Children Tell their Own Stories (August 2001)
    * Save the Children Sweden: 
Day in Prison Feels Like a Year: Palestinian 
Children Tell their Own Stories (2003)
    * Tyrer Bex: 
Palestinian Child: the politics of prisoners (May 2005)
    * Defence for Children International - 
Palestine section, 
the Present, Facing the Future: an Analysis of 
Human Rights Violations against Palestinian Children in 2004 (April 2005)
Report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation 
of human rights in the Palestinian territories 
occupied since 1967 (Mr. John Dugard) (2006)
    * Amnesty International, 
and the Occupied Territories: Mass detention in 
cruel, inhuman and degrading conditions (May 2002)
    * Website: 
for Children International – 

Organisation Contact Details:
Defence for Children International - Palestine Section
PO Box 55201
Jerusalem, Israel
Main Office: Ramallah, Palestine
Tel: 00 972 2 240 7530
Email: <mailto:dci at dci-pal.org>dci at dci-pal.org
Website: <http://www.dci-pal.org>www.dci-pal.org

The Freedom Archives
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San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 863-9977
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