January 22, 2012
Between 500 and 700 Palestinian children are arrested by Israeli soldiers each year, mostly accused of throwing stones. Since 2008, Defence for Children International (DCI) has collected sworn testimonies from 426 minors detained in Israel's military justice system.
Their statements show a pattern of night-time arrests, hands bound with plastic ties, blindfolding, physical and verbal abuse, and threats. About 9% of all those giving affidavits say they were kept in solitary confinement, although there has been a marked increase to 22% in the past six months.
Few parents are told where their children have been taken. Minors are rarely questioned in the presence of a parent, and rarely see a lawyer before or during initial interrogation. Most are detained inside Israel, making family visits very difficult.
Human rights organisations say these patterns of treatment – which are corroborated by a separate study, No Minor Matter, conducted by an Israeli group, B'Tselem – violate the international convention on the rights of the child, which Israel has ratified, and the fourth Geneva convention.
Most children maintain they are innocent of the crimes of which they are accused, despite confessions and guilty pleas, said Gerard Horton of DCI. But, he added, guilt or innocence was not an issue with regard to their treatment.Read the rest of the article here.
"We're not saying offences aren't committed – we're saying children have legal rights. Regardless of what they're accused of, they should not be arrested in the middle of the night in terrifying raids, they should not be painfully tied up and blindfolded sometimes for hours on end, they should be informed of the right to silence and they should be entitled to have a parent present during questioning."
Comment: The Deputy Prime Minister of Kenya, Uhuru Kenyatta, and four others have just been charged by the ICC for crimes against humanity.
Is it just me or do others wonder why Israel escapes the same kind of international scrutiny?
Of course I know that Israel and its partner in human rights crimes, the US, have not signed the Rome Statute that would give the ICC jurisdiction over its inhumane treatment of Palestinians.
Still, it just seems so whack that most of what the ICC does is focused on African states - kinda like crimes against humanity are a black thing when the US and Israel are worse by any measure.
And, I am not even making a judgment about the culpability of Kenyatta and his cronies during the civil war that left 1200 Kenyans dead in 2007.
I guess in Orwellian terms some are more equal, or rather capable/culpable of human rights violations, than others.