Following a November 2015 report by the independent, in which it quoted NGO rights organization the Palestinian Prisoners Club (PPC) that at least 600 Palestinian children have been arrested in Jerusalem alone in the first half of 2015 and that roughly 40% were sexually abused, a new January 2016 report was also issued by the Independent, this time saying that the Israeli government is torturing children and keeping them in outdoor cages during winter time.
The Independent cited a report published by The Public Committee Against Torture in Israel (PCATI) saying that “children accused of minor crimes were subject to public caging, threats and acts of sexual violence and military trials without representation.”
Upon a visit by Israel’s Public Defender’s Office (PDO) lawyers, shocking details of happenings in the detention facility was uncovered.
“During our visit, held during a fierce storm that hit the state, attorneys met detainees who described to them a shocking picture: in the middle of the night dozens of detainees were transferred to the external iron cages built outside the IPS transition facility in Ramla,” the PDO described the scene on its website.
“It turns out that this procedure, under which prisoners waited outside in cages, lasted for several months, and was verified by other officials.”
The report said the incident in Ramla was just one example of a broad range of abuses being suffered.
As for the charges upon which the children are detained, the PCATI quoted figures from the campaign group, noting that “The majority of Palestinian child detainees are charged with throwing stones.”
74 per cent of these children experience physical violence during arrest, transfer or interrogation, the reported added, underscoring that Israel was the only government to systematically prosecute children in its military courts, and added that “no Israeli children come into contact with the military court system”.
In the first three weeks of November 2014 alone, Israel kidnapped at least 380 Palestinians from across the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.
In a 2013 review of child rights record, the UN Committee on the Rights of Children (CRC) said it has deep concern about the reported practice of torture and ill-treatment of Palestinian children arrested, prosecuted and detained by the military and the police, and about the State party’s failure to end these practices in spite of repeated concerns expressed by treaty bodies.
It further added that there is “continuous use of physical and verbal violence, humiliation, painful restraints, hooding of the head and face in a sack, death threats, physical violence, sexual assault against them or members of their family, and restricted access to toilet, food and water.”
The CRC report also explained that the Israeli army used Palestinian children as human shields multiple times.
More than 7,000 Palestinians are reportedly held in 17 Israeli prisons and detention camps. Several human rights organizations have repeatedly called on the United Nation to stop Israel from arresting and torturing Palestinian children, to stop prosecution them under military law and release all children detained unlawfully.
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