The United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) issued a report stating that Israel is mistreating Palestinian children it is holding in its detention and interrogation centers, and added that the abuse against the children is systematic.In its 22-page report, the UNICEF said that Palestinian children, aged 12-17, mainly males, are being kidnapped, interrogated and imprisoned by the Israeli army, the Police and the security services, every year in the occupied West Bank.
It added that what Israel is doing against the detained children “amounts to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment”, and that these Israeli practices violate the Convention on the Eights of the Child, and the Convention against Torture”.
The UNICEF said that the bad treatment Palestinian children face in Israeli prisons start with their arrest, especially since most of these arrests are carried out in the middle of the night, when heavily armed soldiers violently break into Palestinian homes. The ill treatment does not stop there, but goes on throughout interrogation, prosecution and sentencing.
UNICEF said that the soldiers blindfold the children, cuff them with plastic ties, and abuse them physically and verbally while transferring them to interrogation facilities.
It further stated that most of the kidnapped children are coerced into signing confessions without allowing them immediate access to lawyers, legal representation, or family members during interrogation.
UNICEF added that Israel shackles the children during court appearances, denies them bail, and imposes custodial sentences by transferring the detained children to serve their sentences in prisons inside Israel an issue that prevents their families from visiting them.
The UNICEF report was based on the findings of a research involving more than 400 cases of detained children since 2009, in addition to legal documents, government reports and reports issued by human rights groups, interviews with Palestinian children, and Israeli and Palestinian lawyers and officials.
The report also quoted what it called “positive changes”, that Israel allegedly implemented in recent years, including informing the parents about the location of their detained children, and informing the children that they have the right to legal representation.
Palestinian children held by Israel are subject to torture and abuse by the soldiers and interrogators, and are placed in detention centers with adult prisoners.
There are dozens of Palestinian children who are still imprisoned by Israel, deprived of basic rights such as the right to legal representation, education, proper health services, and many other essential issues guaranteed by International Law.