British report details Israeli abuse of Palestinian kids

June 30, 2012

A new report funded and supported by the British government accuses Israel of violating international law with its treatment of Palestinian child detainees, Electronic Intifada said on June 28.

It was was launched in London by a high-profile group of human rights lawyers on June 26.

The report says Israel is in violation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child on at least six counts and of the Fourth Geneva Convention on at least two, Electronic Intifada said.

The article said it laid “bare the system of legal apartheid Israel maintains in Palestine”, but noted there was “pessimism in some quarters that the report’s recommendations will be implemented. The document has been criticized as 'toothless' by a prominent Palestinian human rights activist.”

The report details the military law Israel applies to all Palestinians in the occupied West Bank, including children, and how it differs from the civilian law applied to Israeli settlers who live in the same territory.

Electronic Intifada said: “Israel currently applies two separate and unequal systems of laws in the West Bank. Palestinians are subject to a harsh military regime in which Israeli army officers and police, arrest, interrogate, judge and sentence, while Israeli settlers colonizing the West Bank are subject to Israeli civilian law.

“These systematic inequalities include: the minimum age for Palestinian children to receive a custodial sentence is 12, but for Israelis it is 14; Palestinian children have no right to have a parent present during interrogation, while Israeli children generally do ...

“Palestinian children could have to wait up to eight days before being brought before a judge, while Israeli children have a right to see one within 24 hours; Palestinian children can be detained without charge for 188 days, while for Israelis the limit is 40 ...

“As many as 94 percent of Palestinian children arrested in the West Bank are denied bail, according to nongovernmental organizations. Some 97-98 percent of such cases end with a plea bargain, meaning they go to jail without even reaching the trial stage ...”

The article said that, speaking at the report's launch, Sir Stephen Sedley, a former senior appeal judge, noted there had been a 40% rise in child detainees since the report's authors visited the West Bank last September.

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When will the so called civilized world powers wake up and do something?