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Detention of young children up 74%

Written by admin  •  Wednesday, 07.10.2009, 11:51
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Defence for Children International

[Ramallah, 6 October 2009] – According to the latest figures compiled by DCI-Palestine from sources including the Israeli Prison Service (IPS) and temporary Israeli army detention facilities, the number of Palestinian children detained in Israeli prisons and detention centres inside Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory at the end of September, was 326.

DCI-Palestine is pleased to report that following the recent release of 20 female Palestinian prisoners in exchange for video footage of Israeli soldier, Gilad Shalit, there are now currently no Palestinian females in Israeli detention under the age of 18. On Friday, 2 October 2009, the remaining three girls were released.

Table 1 – Number of Palestinian girls in Israeli detention at the end of each month since January 2008

Year/Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
2008 2 3 3 4 3 6 6 5 6 6 5 7
2009 5 7 6 6 6 5 4 3 3 0

(note: these figures are not cumulative)

In September, the number of Palestinian children held in Israeli detention facilities fell to 326, the lowest figure this year, but which still represents a 7% increase compared with the corresponding period in 2008. The monthly average number of Palestinian children held in Israeli detention in 2009 still remains high, at 370 per month, compared with 319 in 2008. This represents an increase of 16%.

Table 2 – Number of Palestinian children in Israeli detention at the end of each month since January 2008

Year/Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
2008 327 307 325 327 337 323 324 293 304 297 327 342
2009 389 423 420 391 346 355 342 339 326

(note: these figures are not cumulative)

DCI-Palestine continues to be deeply concerned by the high number of young children between the ages of 12 and 15 being detained. At the end of September 2009, 40 children in this age category were being held in Israeli detention facilities, compared with 23 children in September 2008. This represents an increase of 74%.

As a signatory to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989), Israel is legally bound to give effect to Article 37 which provides that ‘the arrest, detention or imprisonment of a child … shall be used only as a measure of last resort and for the shortest appropriate period of time.’

If you wish to take action, then please consider lobbying your elected representatives and demand that pressure be applied on Israeli authorities to cease the practice of prosecuting Palestinian children as young as 12 in military courts, and detaining them inside Israel.

For further information please see DCI-Palestine’s latest report on Palestinian child prisoners.

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