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Israel/OPT
18.05.16
Statements

UN body concerned over Israel’s abuse of Palestinian children

Ramallah,May 18, 2016—The UN CommitteeAgainst Torture expressed concern on Friday at allegations of Israel’sexcessive use of force, including lethal force, against Palestinians and itsill-treatment and torture of Palestinian detainees.

TheCommittee, a body of 10 independent experts, reviewed Israel's compliance withthe Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatmentor Punishment on May 3 and 4.

The“concluding observations” of the Committee, issued on May 13, noted with graveconcern Israel’s use of administrative detention against “700 persons,including 12 minors,” as of the time of the review session. Under the practice,detainees are “held without charge indefinitely on the basis of secretevidence.”

Accordingthe report, measures taken by Israel to safeguard minors were not “implementedin practice” in cases involving “Palestinian minors accused of security-relatedoffences.”

TheCommittee expressed alarm at the “many instances in which Palestinian minorswere exposed to torture or ill-treatment, including to obtain confessions; weregiven confessions to sign in Hebrew, a language they do not understand; andwere interrogated in the absence of a lawyer or a family member.”

TheCommittee also took aim at Israel’s use of solitary confinement and separationagainst minors for interrogation purposes.

Defensefor Children International – Palestine (DCIP) and the World Organizationagainst Torture (OMCT) presented testimony to the Committee Against Torture inGeneva, and attended the review.

InMarch, DCIP and OMCT submitted a joint alternative report to theCommittee, focusing on the ill-treatment and torture of Palestinian children inIsraeli military detention and the use of excessive force by Israeli forces.

Thealternative report was based on testimonies, collected by DCIP, from 429children detained by the Israeli military or police in the occupied West Bankbetween January 2012 and December 2015.

Three-quartersof the children interviewed had endured some form of physical violencefollowing their arrest. More than 41 percent were arrested from their homes inthe middle of the night. And 97 percent were interrogated in the absence of aparent or legal counsel.

DCIPalso documented 66 children held in solitary confinement, for an average periodof 13 days, during the reporting period.

Ill-treatmentand torture of Palestinian child detainees has regularly been raised by UNhuman rights treaty bodies. In June 2013, the Committee on the Rights of theChild reviewed Israel’s compliance with the UN Convention on the Rights of theChild and found thatPalestinian children arrested by Israeli forces were “systematically subject todegrading treatment, and often to acts of torture” and that Israel had “fullydisregarded” previous recommendations to comply with international law.

Inaddition to concern over the treatment of Palestinian child detainees, theCommittee Against Torture also highlighted Israel’s excessive use of forceagainst Palestinians.

Accordingto the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, quoted in the Committee’sconcluding observations, some of Israel’s responses to alleged attacks byPalestinians “strongly suggest unlawful killings, including possibleextrajudicial executions.”

Thenumber of child fatalities has drastically increased since October last year,after tensions across East Jerusalem and the rest of the occupied West Bankescalated into lethal attacks.

Forty-fivePalestinian children from the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, have beenkilled since October as a direct result of intensified violence, all except oneat the hands of Israeli forces. Of this number, 36 allegedly carried out knifeor gun attacks.

Accordingto the Committee, “accountability for instances of excessive use of force israre.”

Since2014, only one incident, the fatalshooting of Nadeem Nawara, 17, in May2014, has resulted in both an investigation and indictment. The trial againstthe Israeli border policeman charged with manslaughter in connection withNadeem’’s death began on May 5.

For more information please contact: Brad Parker, International Advocacy Officer &Attorney, Defense for Children International Palestine, +1.518.744.9071, brad.parker@dcips.org ;or Carolina Bárbara OMCT ChildRights Coordinator, cb@omct.org,+41228 0949 38.

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