“Children in Military Detention”: British Legal Report on Palestinian Children in the Israeli Military Justice System

In Fall 2011, a delegation of British lawyers (funded by the UK Foreign Office) visited Israel and the West Bank to conduct research on the treatment of Palestinian children in the Israeli military justice system. The lawyers reviewed NGO reports on the subject, observed court sessions, collected testimonies formerly detained children, and interviewed representatives of the Israeli government and employees of the military justice system. In June, the delegation published their findings in a 45 page report.

The report reviews the differences between Israeli civilian and military law as they relate to the arrest, incarceration, and trial of children. It compares these regulations to United Nations guidelines on the treatment of children. It also narrates children’s experiences of the process as described in earlier reports by DCI-Palestine, B’tselem, and other NGOs. (The delegation notes that these reports differ markedly from official Israeli descriptions of the same process–which include claims that some children commit crimes in order to receive access to the education and other services provided to detainees.) The report concludes with recommendations for policy changes that would bring the child arrest, detention, and trial process in line with international human rights standards.

The full text of the report is available here. Its release has generated a flurry of media attention, available here and here.

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