Palestinian minors face abuse, threats, ill-treatment in Israeli detention – UN

106e000 nic500861 Palestinian minors face abuse, threats, ill treatment in Israeli detention – UN

Each year, some 700 Palestinian children aged 12 to 17 – mainlyboys – are arrested, interrogated and detained by Israeli army,police and security agents, the United Nations Children Fund(UNICEF) said in the 22-page document released onWednesday. The rights organization examined the treatment of children atall stages of the military detention process and found examples ofpractices it called “cruel and inhuman.” According to the report, the ill-treatment often begins from thevery arrest, when children are woken by heavily-armed soldiers andthen forcibly brought to an interrogation center “tied andblindfolded, sleep-deprived and in a state of extremefear.”Based on interviews with children, UNICEF discovered that manyminors get “physically and verbally abused,” have limited accessto “water, food, toilet facilities and medical care.” Besidesthat, while in custody, children have lack of access to members oftheir families and lawyers. Few of them are informed that they havea right to legal counsel at all.The most common offense that children are arrested for isthrowing stones at Israeli soldiers or Jewish settlers. In themajority of cases, the report pointed out, the principal evidenceagainst the child is the child’s own confession, “extractedunder duress.”Forcing children to confess, some interrogators threat them withphysical violence, death, “and sexual assault, againstthemselves or a family member.”Few children can resist that kind of pressure and in the end ofthe interrogation sign documents they are ordered to, even thoughmany do not have a clear idea of their contents. “In most casesthe forms are in Hebrew, which the overwhelming majority ofPalestinian children do not understand,” UNICEF reportnoted. “Israel is the only place in the world where automatically, achild when he is under arrest, is put before a militarytribunal,” Jean-Nicolas Beuze, UNICEF’s regional adviser onchild protection, told AFP.”It does exist in other countries (but only) as anexception,” he added. “A child is a civilian.”In response to the report, Israel vowed to study its conclusionsand “work to implement them through ongoing cooperation withUNICEF, whose work we value and respect.”The Foreign Ministry said that Israel had cooperated with thechildren’s rights organization during its work on the report withthe goal “of improving issues related to the subject matter ofthe report.”The report was based on over 400 cases documented since 2009,legal documents, statistics from both governmental andnon-governmental organizations, and reports by UN bodies andPalestinian NGOs. UNICEF also interviewed Israeli and Palestinianlawyers, Israeli officials and Palestinian children.The arrests of children that the report refers to occurred, itsaid, in the area defined under international law as “theoccupied Palestinian territory, which includes the West Bank, EastJerusalem and the Gaza Strip.”

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Palestinian minors face abuse, threats, ill-treatment in Israeli detention – UN

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