Geneva, 26 Rajab 1437/4 May 2016 (MINA) – UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) spokeswoman Ravina Shamdasani has expressed concern regarding the dramatic increase of children detentions in Israeli prisons.
“According to official Israeli Prison Service [IPS] statistics, there were 440 children in detention on security grounds at the end of February 2016 (including 12 girls)”, Shamdasani told Anadolu Agency in Geneva on Tuesday.
“This is the highest number of detained children since January 2008 – when IPS began releasing data. The number at the end of Sep 2015 was 171 – less than half,” Shamdasani said.
“Under the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which binds Israel, the arrest, detention or imprisonment of a child must be used only as a measure of last resort and for the shortest appropriate period of time,” Shamdasani added.
A dramatic increase despite UN efforts
The dramatic increase of the detention of minors started in October 2015, according to Shamdasani.
“Despite the many efforts of the UN and others to engage with Israeli authorities on these issues, in particular the use of detention of children, the situation on the ground is worsening,” she noted.
“Among the detained children, 104, or nearly 24 percent, are aged 12-15 [at the end of February 2016], up from 27 [end of September 2015],” UN High Commissioner for Human Rights spokesperson Shamdasani stated.
She also expressed concern regarding the ill treatment of minors.
“We also continue to be concerned about the ill treatment of children, with a large number reporting being blindfolded with their hands tied and suffering physical violence during arrest and interrogation, while some also reported being held in solitary confinement”, Shamdasani said.
The Israeli daily newspaper, Haaretz reported on April 24 that, according to figures released by the Israeli Prison Service, the number of Palestinian children in Israeli jails had risen to 438 by February from 170 in September 2015, following a sharp increase in protests and stabbing attacks.
The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) report said the arrests of Palestinian juveniles rose 72 percent in 2015 compared to the year earlier, with the majority of arrests occurring after September.
The Palestinian Human Rights Organizations Council (PHROC) has noted that more than one fifth of the entire Palestinian population has been arrested at one point or another since Israel first occupied the West Bank and the Gaza Strip in 1967. (T/P002/R04)
Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)