Documents to download

Israel has ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Optional Protocol on children and armed conflict, but has been slow to incorporate the principles and provisions of the Convention into its domestic legal system.

In June 2012 a delegation of nine UK lawyers published an FCO-funded, independent report, Children in Military Custody, on the plight of Palestinian children arrested and detained by Israel. It found that Israel’s treatment of Palestinian child prisoners was in breach of:

  • Article 76 of the 4th Geneva Convention on the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War (concerning occupied territories), and
  • Several Articles of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child

The report made 43 core and specific recommendations and the UK Government promised to take up the issues with the Israeli Government. On 21 October 2015 Tobias Ellwood replied to a question about progress in carrying out the recommendations, saying that “there has been some progress on the issue of children held in military detention”.

In 2013 Israel submitted a periodic report to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, which monitors implementation of the Convention, to which the Committee responded in June 2013. It regretted Israel’s “persistent refusal to provide information and data and to respond to the Committee’s written questions on children living in the Occupied Palestinian Territory …, including East Jerusalem and the Occupied Syrian Golan Heights”. The Committee noted Israel’s follow-up measures and some progress, and took into account its national security concerns, but emphasised:

… that the illegal long-lasting occupation of Palestinian territory and the Syrian Golan Heights, the continued expansion of unlawful settlements and construction of the Wall into the West Bank as well as land confiscation, destruction of houses and livelihood of Palestinians constitute severe and continuous violations of the rights of Palestinian children and their families, feed the cycle of humiliation and violence and jeopardize a peaceful and stable future for all children of the region.

Figures for the number of Palestinian children in Israeli gaols vary. In its October 2015 Newsletter, Military Court Watch put the figure at 171 at the end of September 2015. According to the Palestinian Information Centre on 12 November 2015, in the space of a month nearly 800 Palestinian children and minors under the age of 18 had been arrested and the number of children in Israeli gaols had risen to nearly 340 (the highest number since 2010). Most of the detained children were from occupied Jerusalem and the West Bank, although arrests were made in the Gaza Strip.

Documents to download

Related posts