A six-year-old mentally disabled girl who was born in Israel to parents who migrated from Sierra Leone was detained Thursday morning by Israel’s Population and Immigration Authority.Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz reported that the girls’ family is in the process of appealing the rejection of their asylum request and has yet to receive a final decision from the Israeli Interior Ministry’s humanitarian committee.
An NGO dedicated to the rights of children reported to Ha’aretz that the girl and her family were detained at 5 AM which violates a policy of not waking up children in the middle of the night. They added, “The jailing of children must be our last option, and in this case it was the first.”
The Population and Immigration Authority claim that they were not detained in the middle of the night, but at 6 AM.
In contrast to this stated policy regarding children in Israel, Palestinian children in the West Bank are routinely arrested and detained in the middle of the night and often separated from their families and placed in military prison without charge.
Relating to this specific case, Israeli authorities commented that the girl was “illegally living in Israel” and nothing prevents them from keeping the child in custody while the appeal is being reviewed by the government.