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Palestinian children have the right to grow up in a safe and free Palestinian State - McLellan

11 December, 2014

Sinn Féin TD Sandra McLellan last night outlined how the passing of a Sinn Féin motion on the recognition of a Palestinian State would improve the chances of a two-state solution, where Palestinian children could grow up in a safe and free environment.

Deputy McLellan said:

“We welcomed the Government's decision not to oppose or amend the Sinn Féin motion last night which called for this Government's recognition of Palestine's right to self-determination and statehood. The decision means that both houses of the Oireachtas will now support sovereignty for the Palestinian people.

“The move is a substantial and positive development.  By creating cross party unity on this issue in the Oireachtas is sending a strong message of solidarity to the Palestinian people.
The government must now follow through on subsequent steps needed and ensure they live up to the commitments outlined and agreed upon.

“During the debate, I used my opportunity to highlight some of the current issues related to Palestinian children being held in detention by Israel.

“According to a report by the Euro-Mid Observer for Human Rights, Israeli forces arrested nearly 3,000 Palestinian children from the beginning of 2010 to mid-2014, the majority of them between the ages of 12 and 15 years old. The report points out that 75 per cent of the detained children are subjected to physical torture and 25 per cent faced military trials. It is one clear example of how Israel continues to violate international and human rights law with its occupation of Palestine.

“Children as young as 12 are taken into custody without any warning.  It's a practice that runs completely contrary to the protection of childrens’ rights and indeed, human rights. It results in thousands of children under the age of 16 being taken into custody. 

“Another report conducted by UNICEF in March of last year found that found that the ill-treatment of Palestinian minors held in Israeli military detention centres is "widespread, systematic and institutionalised". It also found children had been held in solitary confinement for between two days and a month before being taken to court, or even after sentencing.

“This is the true face of Israel's Occupation. We in Sinn Féin believe our motion passed yesterday improves the chances of a two-state solution where Palestinian children will gain their right to grow up in a safe and free Palestinian State.”

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