Gavan condemns Israeli mistreatment of Palestinian minors
Sinn Féin Senator Paul Gavan has condemned the treatment of Palestinian minors in the Israeli justice system during a debate in the Council of Europe. He was speaking in favour of a Council Report condemning the widespread, systematic and institutionalized ill-treatment of Palestinian children.
The report and resolution condemning the treatment of Palestinian minors in the Israeli justice system was passed by a large majority.
Senator Gavan said:
“Israel is a notorious human rights abuser and is implementing an apartheid regime. One of the cohorts of people most affect by Israel’s policies are Palestinian minors. Israel is the only country in the world that automatically prosecutes children in military courts that lack fundamental fair rights and guarantees. In Israeli civilian courts, detention is always a last resort for a minor, but when it comes to Palestinian minors in Israeli military courts, prison is almost guaranteed.
“A report published by Israeli human rights group B’Tselem shows how the military court system has a conviction rate that exceeds 95 percent for minors. I have witnessed first-hand these Israeli Military Courts in practice. I can tell you that Justice has no part to play in these sham procedures.
“At the end of June 2018, 273 Palestinian minors were held in Israeli prisons as security detainees and prisoners, including 3 administrative detainees. In addition, minors are routinely held in Israeli army run facilities for short periods of time.
“A report released this year by Military Court Watch found that two-thirds of the Palestinian minors who testified about their arrest and incarceration in 2017 reported that they were subjected to violence and physical abuse by soldiers during their custody.
“This has been backed up by UNICEF reports into the issue which revealed systemic human rights and child rights abuses by Israel in its detention of Palestinian minors. Colleagues we are talking about children here. Such widespread, systematic and institutionalised abuse of Palestinian children must end.”