Middle East

Israeli military violating rights of Palestinian children: study

BEIRUT: A delegation of British lawyers has concluded in a report backed by the U.K.'s Foreign Office that Palestinian children under Israeli military rule are subject to violations of the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) as well as the Fourth Geneva Convention.

The report, "Children in Military Custody," released Tuesday found that there were at least six violations of the UNCRC, to which Israel is a signatory.

It cites the breach of "articles 2 [discrimination], 3 [child’s best interests], 37(b) [premature resort to detention], (c) [non-separation from adults], (d) [prompt access to lawyers], and 40 [use of shackles] of the UNCRC.”

According to international law, a state is not allowed to discriminate against a person based on race or nationality. However, the report states that "there are major differentials between the law governing the treatment of Palestinian children and the law governing treatment of Israeli children.”

Furthermore, the report states that transportation of child prisoners into the Israeli state from the occupied West Bank and the failure to translate "Military Order 1676" from Hebrew do not adhere to article 76 of the Fourth Geneva Convention.

The act of keeping child prisoners in solitary confinement for long periods of time was also touched upon, claiming that "to hold children routinely and for substantial periods in solitary confinement would, if it occurred, be capable of amounting to torture.”

Forty specific recommendations were set out by the report, covering areas of "potential improvement in relation to arrest, interrogation, bail hearings, plea bargains, trial, sentencing, detention, complaints and monitoring."

The main recommendations were that international law apply to the occupied Palestinian territories and be fully and effectively implemented, that the best interest of the child be the primary consideration in all actions concerning children and that Israel should deal with Palestinian children on an equal footing with Israeli children.

The report was based on a visit to Israel and the West Bank last year by a delegation made up of nine lawyers including former high court judge Sir Stephen Sedley and the U.K.'s former attorney-general Lady Scotland, reported the Guardian newspaper.

It was funded by the British Foreign Office and the British consulate in Jerusalem.





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