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Palestinian children need improved protection in Israeli military detention – UNICEF

State of Palestine, 2011. A. (centre) was arrested for throwing stones and released. Children under 12 are usually not prosecuted by Israeli military courts. A. says his interrogators fed him, but also shouted at him.

JERUSALEM, 6 March 2013 – UNICEF today outlined practical measures that could be adopted to improve the treatment of Palestinian children who are in contact with the Israeli military detention system.

In a briefing paper titled Children in Israeli military detention: observations and recommendations, the children’s agency recommends measures so that Palestinian children in Israeli military custody are treated in line with the Convention on the Rights of the Child and other international standards.

Based on an analysis of the legal framework and testimonies from children on the violations of their rights in detention, the paper says there appears to be a pattern of ill-treatment during the arrest, transfer and interrogation of child detainees.

It includes a series of recommendations to improve protection for children in conformity with international standards such as the prohibition of blindfolding and solitary confinement of children.

The paper also recommends that except in extreme circumstances, children should not be arrested at night and a lawyer or family member should be present during interrogation of child suspects.

The paper also reinforces findings made by the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the occupied Palestinian territory and the UN Special Committee on Israeli practices in the Occupied Territory in 2012.
UNICEF welcomes some improvement in the treatment of Palestinian children in the Israeli military system over the past years, including raising the age when Palestinian children reach adulthood from 16 to 18 years. UNICEF will continue its engagement with Israeli military authorities to improve the safeguards that promote the rights and well-being of Palestinian children in military custody.


UNICEF works in more than 190 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence. The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments. For more information about UNICEF and its work visit: www.unicef.org

The UNICEF briefing paper can be downloaded at this link: https://www.unicef.org/oPt/UNICEF_oPt_Children_in_Israeli_Military_Detention_Observations_and_Recommendations_-_6_March_2013.pdf

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For further information, please contact:

Peter Smerdon, UNICEF New York, Tel + 1 212 303 7984, Mobile: + 1 917 213 5188, psmerdon@unicef.org

Marixie Mercado, UNICEF Geneva, Tel: +41-22-909-5716 Cell: +41-79-756-7703 mmercado@unicef.org




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