Thank you to everyone who has contacted me about the treatment of Palestinian children in Israeli detention.
I share your concerns and agree that more needs to be done about this. No child, no matter what their nationality or where they are in the world, should be subjected to physical or psychological violence, blindfolded, painfully restrained, or subjected to coercive force or threats.
In 2012, the independent Children in Military Custody report outlined no fewer than 40 recommendations for how Israeli authorities should improve the way they deal with arrests, interrogations, bail hearings, sentencing and the investigation of complaints. However, over half a decade later, only one of these recommendations is believed to have been implemented.
The recent arrest of Palestinian activist Ahed Tamimi has served to highlight these issues once again. I believe it is time for the UK Government to step up and demand that Israeli authorities not only implement the remaining recommendations of the Children in Military Custody report, but also respect their ongoing obligations under international law – in particular, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Convention on the Rights of the Child. There should also be an independent investigation into reports of ill-treatment of young people in Israel’s military detention system and I believe the UK Government must call for this immediately.
Without this kind of insistence on basic protections for the rights of Palestinians, we will never make the progress we all want to see towards a long term, sustainable peace in the Middle East. I can assure you that my Labour colleagues and I will continue to press the Government on the actions it is taking.
Update 28th February 2018
I submitted a written parliamentary question on this issue and have now received a response from Alistair Burt MP, Minister of State for the Middle East at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has provided the following answer to your written parliamentary question (128173):
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, with reference to the recent arrest of Ahed Tamimi, if the Government will seek the establishment of an urgent independent investigation into allegations of ill-treatment of young people in Israel's military detention system. (128173)
Tabled on: 19 February 2018
Israel’s treatment of Palestinian minors in military detention remains a human rights priority for this Government. While we do not have plans to establish an investigation, we have repeatedly and publicly called on Israel to fulfil its international legal obligations. Israel should implement the protections and due process that children are entitled to under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, to which Israel is a State Party. We continue to closely follow the case of Ahed Tamimi and, while it is ultimately a matter for the Israeli authorities, we have raised our concerns with the Israeli Ambassador to the UK and the Israeli Ministry of Justice.
The answer was submitted on 27 Feb 2018 at 17:36.