The Australian Foreign Affairs Minister, Bob Carr, announced on Monday that he plans to send officials from his office to Israel to observe trials of Palestinian children who are sentenced to military prison, the Palestine News Network reported.Carr expressed his concern about violations of the rights of Palestinian children in the occupied territories and demanded that Israel respect the human rights of children.
According to a report by the Save the Children Foundation and the East Jerusalem YMCA Rehabilitation Program, the Israeli military arrests 700 Palestinian children every year. There are currently an estimated 280 Palestinian children in Israeli military prisons.
Since the year 2000, the Alternative Information Center (AIC) estimates that about 8,000 children have been arrested in contravention of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), to which Israel is a signatory.
Those arrested who are defined as children include anyone under the age of 18, but many children in Israeli prisons are as young as 12 years old and Israel has even arrested children as young as 9. They are sometimes arrested for throwing stones, but a reason for arrest is not always given and children are simply kidnapped from their homes, often in the middle of the night.