Today, the U.N. Committee on the Rights of the Child accused Israeli forces of torturing Palestinian children.
The report (pdf)comes within a year of three other reports: a UNICEF report on children in military detention last winter; a British report of a year ago, Children in Military Custody, which gained wide attention for its assertion that Israel was torturing children by holding them “routinely and for substantial periods in solitary confinement;” and this Breaking the Silence report last summer on Israeli soldiers’ abuses of Palestinian children, which included many reports of children getting beaten “to a pulp.”
A United Nations human rights body accused Israeli forces on Thursday of mistreating Palestinian children, including by torturing those in custody and using others as human shields.
“Palestinian children arrested by (Israeli) military and police are systematically subject to degrading treatment, and often to acts of torture, are interrogated in Hebrew, a language they did not understand, and sign confessions in Hebrew in order to be released,” it said in a report.
“If someone simply wants to magnify their political bias and political bashing of Israel not based on a new report, on work on the ground, but simply recycling old stuff, there is no importance in that,” [Israeli Foreign Ministry] spokesman Yigal Palmor said.
The “old stuff” FM spokesperson Yigal Palmor is referencing is the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) February report Children in Israeli Military Detention, Observations and Recommendations (pdf) on the “widespread, systematic and institutionalized” abuse of Palestinian children held in Israeli custody.
After UNICEF released its report, Israel’s Foreign Ministry claimed in March that it would “study the conclusions and… work to implement them through ongoing cooperation with UNICEF.”
No doubt Palmor would much rather deal with UNICEF than with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, which issued today’s report, since Israel joined UNICEF’s board this year, and UNICEF’s new Jerusalem bureau chief has been very respectful of Israel.
Back to Reuters:
The U.N. committee [OHCHR] regretted Israel’s “persistent refusal” to respond to requests for information on children in the Palestinian territories and occupied Syrian Golan Heights since the last review in 2002.
Today is a good time to be reminding Israel to stop torturing Palestinian children. It’s World Refugee Day, established by the U.N. in December 2000, nearly 50 years after the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees. It is observed every year on June 20th to raise awareness of the plight of refugees.
Palestinian refugees represent the longest suffering and largest refugee population in the world.