Children in Israeli Military Detention
Observations and Recommendations
Since March 2013, UNICEF has been engaging in a dialogue with the Israeli authorities on children’s rights while in military detention and on specific actions that can be undertaken to improve the protection of these children. In this regard, the Military Advocate General (MAG) appointed the Military Prosecutor for Judea and Samaria (West Bank) as the focal point to lead the substantive dialogue with UNICEF.
In the course of the engagement, UNICEF has also met with representatives of the Ministry of Justice, the Israeli police, the Israel Prison Service (IPS) and the Deputy Military Prosecutor for IDF soldiers in breach of the law. A regular dialogue was also maintained with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The dialogue focuses on what a child experiences when arrested and detained for alleged security offences in the West Bank and brought in contact with various Israeli authorities, including the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF), the Israeli Police, the Israel Security Agency (ISA) and the Israel Prison Service (IPS).
UNICEF uses the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT) and other international legal instruments reflecting international juvenile justice standards as key reference documents. In line with these, UNICEF advocates for the universal principle that all children in contact with law enforcement and justice institutions (whether juvenile justice systems or military systems) have the right to be treated with dignity and respect at all times and to be afforded special protections.
UNICEF has committed to providing periodic updates on its engagement with the Israeli authorities on children in military detention and to report on actions taken. The first update was released in October 2013. This second update covers the period from March 2013 to November 2014.