UNICEF on March 6 reported (PDF) that Israeli practices concerning the detention of children may violate international legal standards. The report claims approximately 700 Palestinian children are detained every year in Israeli military facilities. Further, UNICEF suggests mistreatment of these children in these facilities is “widespread, systematic and institutionalized.” According to the report, the mistreatment includes:
The arrests of children at their homes between midnight and 5:00 am by heavily armed soldiers; the practice of blindfolding children and tying their hands with plastic ties; physical and verbal abuse during transfer to an interrogation site, including the use of painful restraints; lack of access to water, food, toilet facilities and medical care; interrogation using physical violence and threats; coerced confessions; and lack of access to lawyers or family members during interrogation.
UNICEF argues this treatment is inconsistent with Israel’s international obligations under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. The report recommends Israel come into compliance with these obligations by integrating several steps in their detention practices. Notably, UNICEF called on Israel to only arrest children during daylight hours, use strip searches with extreme caution, allow children access to their family and a lawyer during interrogations, access to medical care and releasing the location of the children to the family. Further, the UNICEF urged the Israeli military to use these detention only as a last resort and only keep these children in detention for as long as is absolutely necessary.
From Jurist, March 6. Used with permission.