I write to draw your attention and, through you, the attention of the international community to the extreme hardships and suffering being endured by the Palestinian people under occupation in the State of Palestine, as Israel, the occupying Power, persists with its gross human rights violations, collective punishment and breaches of international humanitarian law. At this time, we are compelled to highlight the critical condition of Palestinian children, who are being subjected to escalating repression and acts of aggression, in breach of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Fourth Geneva Convention and other provisions of international law, resulting in a tragic situation of widespread suffering, trauma and loss of childhoods.
In particular, the situation of Palestinian children detained and imprisoned by Israel, the occupying Power, is a matter of urgency requiring immediate attention and redress. The occupying forces continue to harass and attack Palestinian children in violent raids on towns, villages and refugee camps, at checkpoints and in peaceful demonstrations and continue to carry out pre-dawn raids into the homes of families, seizing children in the dead of night, intensifying the trauma for both child and parents. It is also a routine practice of Israel to detain Palestinian children for extended periods of time without access to parents or lawyers and to subject children to forced interrogations, leading to confessions made under duress, and to beatings, solitary confinement and other forms of psychological and physical torture as well as to military court trials. Regarding the systematic trial of Palestinian children in Israeli military courts, a UNICEF February 2013 report, “Children in Israeli Military Detention: Observations and Recommendations” underscores that: “It is understood that this is the first and only juvenile military court in operation in the world”. [Read more…]