Detention figures – According to the Israeli Prison Service (IPS), as of 31 December 2013, there were 4,768 Palestinians held in Israeli detention facilities including 154 children. In the case of children this represents a monthly decrease of 11 percent and an annual increase of 1.5 percent compared with 2012. In a positive development, for the fourth month in a row no children below the age of 14 were recorded as being held in IPS detention facilities. However, it should be noted that there are no publicly available official statistics that show the number of children below the age of 14 who were arrested and held for less than one month in detention between the monthly prison count conducted by the IPS (see: MCW testimony – Y.T.). According to the IPS, 49 percent of Palestinian children and 88 percent of adults continue to be detained in facilities inside Israel, in violation of Article 76 of the Fourth Geneva Convention. Read more
Second OECD complaint lodged against G4S -
On 6 December 2013, a member of the Danish Parliament submitted a complaint against the multi-national security company G4S under the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises (Guidelines). The complaint against the UK/Danish security company arises out of its business activities in Israel and Palestine involving the provision of goods and services to the Israeli Prison Service and to Israeli settlements in the West Bank. In November 2013, a similar complaint against G4S was lodged with the OECD in the UK arising out of the same circumstances. Read more
FCO funded report: Children in Military Custody – progress report –
18 months after the publication of a report produced by senior UK lawyers, over 87 percent of the recommendations remain un-implemented and no additional protection has been provided for children during the critical first 24 hours following arrest. Read more
News – political – On 14 January 2014, Dame Tessa Jowell MP, a former Labour Minister, asked the UK Foreign Secretary a number of questions relating to children held in Israeli military detention following a visit to Ofer military court, near Jerusalem:
1. What steps the UK Government has taken to ensure that specific legal duties and obligations under Article 1 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, “to respect and to ensure respect for the Convention in all circumstances”, are being honoured in relation to the detention of children in military custody in the Occupied Territories.
2. What representations he has made to the Israeli authorities about the forty recommendations made by the delegation of nine lawyers in their report, Children in Military Custody, published in June 2012.
3. What urgent representations he will make to the Israeli authorities concerning the conditions under which Palestinian children are arrested and detained within the first twenty-four hours of their arrest.
On 20 January 2014, Hugh Robertson, Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs responded in the following terms:
“We regularly urge the Israeli authorities to act in accordance with international law, including their legal obligations under the Fourth Geneva
convention, and to adopt recommendations of the report—including recommendations relating to the first 24 hours of arrest and detention such as not making arrests at night, informing parents of a child’s arrest in Arabic, ending shackling, allowing a parent or lawyer to accompany the child on arrest and audio-visual recording of interviews —and will continue to do so. Our ambassador to Tel Aviv
discussed the issue and recommendations with the Israeli Attorney-General, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
and the Ministry of Justice on 31 December. The UK
also raised this issue at Israel’s Universal Periodic Review
session at the UN Human Rights Council
on 29 October.”
Media – The Jewish Chronicle – “
Take a lawyer's advice - visit the occupied territories”: Those who consider that stories of systemic breaches of human rights under the occupation are an anti-Israel myth are deluding themselves. Read more
Media – Haaretz -
“The Zionist dream is not flourishing in Israel’s military courts”: At my West Bank yeshiva they taught me that my prayers would hasten the messiah. At a West Bank military court I discovered how poorly Israel is preparing for his arrival. Read more
Media – Haaretz –
“When Diaspora Jews visit a West Bank court”: The Ofer military-court and prison complex doesn’t appear on any must-see list of Israeli tourist attractions. But concerned Jewish tourists may be changing that. Read more
Media – The Independent –
“G4S contracts in Israeli occupied territories face major investigation”: G4S, the security company which has lurched from crisis to crisis over the past two years, is facing an investigation by international authorities into its alleged activities in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories. Read more
On 16 November 2013, a 16-year-old boy from Bethlehem is arrested by Israeli soldiers at 3:00 a.m. and accused of throwing Molotov cocktails and stones. “I was asleep at home when my father woke me up at 3:00 a.m. and told me Israeli soldiers were surrounding the house. I went to the living room and heard very loud banging at our front door. Soldiers threatened my father that if he didn’t open the door they were going to break in. My father opened the door and about 10 masked and armed soldiers entered the house. One soldier asked to see my identity card. I went to get it from the bedroom and a soldier followed me. When I showed my identity card to the soldier he asked me to stand aside. At that point my father realised they had come to arrest me. He told them I was sick and suffered from Asthma. They didn’t tell us why they were arresting me or where they were taking me. They made my father sign a piece of paper, which I think, said that I was not mistreated. The soldiers allowed me to put on some warm clothes and my father gave them my medication.” Read more
The 6 core recommendations – The overwhelming majority of complaints relating to the treatment of children held in Israeli military detention occur during the first 24 hours following arrest. There are six core recommendations that, if effectively implemented, would provide the necessary protection:
1. Children should only be arrested during daylight hours except in rare and exceptional circumstances. In all other cases summonses should be used;
2. All children, and their legal guardian, should be provided with a written statement in Arabic informing them of their full legal rights in custody;
3. All children must consult with a lawyer of their choice prior to questioning;
4. All children must be accompanied by a family member throughout their questioning;
5. Every interrogation must be audio-visually recorded and a copy of the tape must be provided to the defence prior to the first hearing; and
6. Breach of any of the above recommendations should result in the discontinuation of the prosecution and the child’s immediate release.