The rights of Palestinian minors in the Israeli justice system must be protected

A resolution adopted today by PACE called on the Israeli authorities to work with UNICEF, the International Committee of the Red Cross and civil society to “change laws, practice and attitudes so as to fully protect the rights of Palestinian minors in the Israeli justice system”. The Assembly expressed its readiness “to assist the Knesset and the Palestinian authorities in this regard”.

PACE stressed that, according to UNICEF and the vast majority of NGOs – international, Palestinian and Israeli – the ill-treatment of Palestinian minors in the Israeli military detention system was “widespread, systematic and institutionalized” throughout the process, from the moment of arrest until the child’s prosecution and eventual conviction and sentencing.

The text adopted, on the basis of the report by Liliane Maury Pasquier (Switzerland, SOC), recalled the importance of fully applying the provisions of international law related to the rights of children. “An end must be put to all forms of physical or psychological abuse of children during arrest, transit and waiting periods, and during interrogations,” the parliamentarians said.

PACE also recommended that no child be held in administrative detention or solitary confinement “for any reason”, and called on Israel to raise the age of criminal responsibility of children to at least 14 years.

Finally, PACE called on the Israeli and the Palestinian authorities to educate children and young people in their communities on non-violent approaches to ending conflict with a view to giving new life to the peace process.