At the age of 16, our problems are a combination of fluctuating hormones, learning to drive, and high school drama. For 16-year-olds in Palestine, the problems run much deeper, as they face time behind Israeli bars for no apparent reason. The Middle East Monitor released an alarming infographic capturing the startling percent of human rights abuses against Palestinian children who are detained by Israeli forces. Whether a child has committed an actual crime or not approximately 414 children are serving time in Israeli prisons, and 104 are under the age of 16.
According to the International Human Rights Standards for Prison Officials, “children who are detained shall be treated in a manner which promotes their sense of dignity and worth, facilitates their reintegration into society, reflects their best interests and takes their needs into account.” 69% of Palestinian children are forced into confessions via physical and mental torture, and they are often drafted in Hebrew, which most Palestinian children are not fluent in. These types of confessions are what Israeli military prosecutors use to guarantee a conviction and put children behind bars.
The law also states, “children shall not be subjected to corporal punishment, capital punishment or life imprisonment without possibility of release.” Most of the Palestinian children who are arrested come from Hebron, East Jerusalem, and Ramallah and are locked up in Ofer, Megiddo and Hasharon prisons, with most girls in Hasharon. With so many Palestinian children in Israeli detention despite their arrests, convictions, and treatment in the facilities being illegal, why has the international community been so silent? Despite efforts for the NGO’s, international human rights organization, and the remaining part of humanity has put pressure on Israel to stop these illegal practices that put children away, deprive them of their childhood, and cause permanent emotional and mental damage to them.
Originally published on Scoop Empire June 14, 2016