Press Release: Caabu welcomes Foreign Office’s tougher stance on Israel’s treatment of Palestinian child detainees
Caabu welcomes Foreign Office’s tougher stance on Israel’s treatment of Palestinian child detainees
27 June 2012
For immediate release
Caabu welcomes the independent report commissioned by the British Foreign Office into Israel’s treatment of Palestinian child detainees.
The report was written by a team of nine British lawyers who visited Israel and the West Bank in September 2011. The high-level delegation led by Sir Stephen Sedley, a former Court of Appeal judge, included former Attorney-General, Baroness Patricia Scotland. In the report’s 40 recommendations it called for Israel to adhere to international law and “deal with Palestinian children on an equal footing with Israeli children.”
Other recommendations include:
· An end to night time arrests except in extreme circumstances;
· An end to hooding and blindfolding children;
· An end to painfully tying children;
· An end to transferring children on the floor of military vehicles;
· The presence of a family member during interrogation;
· Access to a lawyer prior to interrogation;
· An end to forcing children to sign confessions in Hebrew; and
· An end to transferring children to prisons inside Israel in violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention.
Commenting on the publication of the report, Caabu Director, Chris Doyle, said “This appalling and systematic abuse of human rights cannot be allowed to continue. What I have witnessed was nothing less than a kangaroo court that does nothing to improve Israel’s security whilst criminalising an entire generation of Palestinian children. This is just one major human rights abuse of many under occupation that has to be brought to an end. This report outlines 40 recommendations, all of which should be implemented without delay.”
Caabu has played a leading role in raising this issue with the British government and politicians. In the last 18 months, Caabu has taken seven Parliamentary delegations to the military courts, including a total of 29 British politicians. In November 2010, a Caabu delegation to the West Bank made the first UK Parliamentary visit to an Israeli military court. Following this delegation, members procured the first ever adjournment debate on the issue in Parliament pressing ministers to take action.
These are just some of the delegates’ assessments:
Lisa Nandy MP witnessed the trial of a shackled 14-year-old at Ofer Prison as part of a Caabu delegation in December 2011. She said:
"In five minutes he had been found guilty of stone-throwing and was sentenced to nine months. It was shocking to see a child being put through this process. It's difficult to see how a [political] solution can be reached when young people are being treated in this manner. They end up with very little hope for their future and very angry about their treatment."
Graham Jones MP was part of the same delegation:
“We met one mother – an English teacher – who broke down in floods of tears at the sight of her 14 year old son in leg irons having spent 3 months in prison already awaiting trial. She was allowed to see the last 5 minutes of her son’s court appearance for stone throwing. He received 5 months’ imprisonment.”
Lord Dubs reported from a delegation in May 2011:
"We saw a 14-year-old and a 15-year-old, one of them in tears, both looking absolutely bewildered … I do not believe this process of humiliation represents justice. I believe that the way in which these young people are treated is in itself an obstacle to the achievement by Israel of a peaceful relationship with the Palestinian people."
Another delegate, Joan Ruddock MP, who visited in May 2012, spoke in the House of Commons called on Ministers “to raise these issues with their Israeli counterparts and to monitor the effect of the promise of no more automatic renewal of administrative orders when they expire.”
Gerard Horton of Defence for Children International praised Caabu’s efforts,
"Thanks to Caabu, these delegations have seen the situation for themselves and reported back to Parliament. DCI is indebted to Caabu for making these delegations possible, which in turn, is playing an important role in protecting children in detention."
Caabu will continue to raise this issue with both British and Israeli Ministers and politicians.
1 - For more information or interviews, please contact Chris Doyle on 07968040281 firstname.lastname@example.org
2 – The report can be read here http://www.childreninmilitarycustody.org/
3 - Caabu has raised the issue as well of Palestinian administrative detainees - http://www.caabu.org/news/news/press-release-palestinian-detainee-khader-adnans-hunger-strike-enters-day-60
4 - An Early Day Motion was also tabled on the issue in Parliament http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2010-12/2274
5 – More can be read about Caabu’s delegations to Palestine here
6: Other reports on the issue include -
Report to UN Committee on Rights of Child: June 2012 http://www.dci-palestine.org/sites/default/files/dci-pal_-_alternative_report_-_4_june_2012.pdf
Bound Blindfolded and convicted: April 2012 http://www.dci-palestine.org/documents/new-dci-report-bound-blindfolded-and-convicted-children-held-military-detention-2012