British Government’s Current Position: Detention of Palestinian Children by Israel

Question: by Baroness Tonge (Independent) on 9th April 2019
(HL15172):

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon on 3 April (HL14802), what (1) steps they have taken, and (2) representations they have made, to the government of Israel about changing and improving the detention practices used by that government in relation to Palestinian children since the publication of the report by a delegation of British lawyers on the treatment of Palestinian children under Israeli military law Children in Military Custody in June 2012; whether they intend to take further steps, involving international organisations, in regard to the detention practices that government uses; if so, what; and if not, why not. (HL15172)

Answer: Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon (Conservative) on 16th April 2019

The treatment of Palestinian children in Israeli military detention remains an important concern for the UK. While welcoming the positive steps that Israel has taken since the last review in 2012, we continue to call upon Israel to improve its practices in line with international law and obligations. Officials at our Embassy in Tel Aviv raised our concerns about children in detention with the Israeli authorities on 18 March 2019 and reiterated the UK’s offer of expert discussions on the issue. We also raised the issue in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office Annual Human Rights Report, and on the international stage, including at the UN Human Rights Council Universal Periodic Review of Israel in January 2018.

Question: by Jenny Tonge (Independent) on 29th April 2019

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon on 16 April (HL15172), what positive steps the government of Israel has taken in relation to the treatment of Palestinian children in Israeli military detention since the last review in 2012. (HL15419)

Answer: Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon (Conservative) on 8th May 2019.

We welcomed progress Israel had made on this issue, including: a reduction in the number of detainees aged between 12 and 14 years old; the increase in the age of maturity from 16 to 18 years old; the establishment of separate juvenile courts; and the enactment of a special statute of limitations for minors. Initial detention periods have also been shortened. However we continue to have strong concerns about continued reports of ill-treatment of Palestinian minors in Israeli military detention and remain committed to working with Israel to secure improvements to its practices.

Question:  by Baroness Tonge on (Independent) 10 June 2019

Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Israel: Palestinians, (HL16227)

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of reports of the treatment by Israel of Palestinian children who have been shot by Israeli forces, prevented from immediate medical help and taken into Israeli custody without family support.

Answer: by: Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon (Conservative) on: 24 June 2019

We continue to have strong concerns about continued reports of ill-treatment of Palestinian minors in Israeli military detention and to seek improvements to Israeli practices. Officials from our Embassy in Tel Aviv last raised our concerns with the Israeli Ministry of Justice on 6 June. We also regularly press Israel on the use of live fire, particularly against children, and urge unimpeded access to medical treatment.

Asked by Baroness Tonge (Independent) on 27 November 2018

Foreign and Commonwealth Office: Israel: Palestinians. HL11867

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what representations they have made to the government of Israel about the reported detention of over 900 Palestinian children from January to October 2018, 270 of whom were still detained as of the end of October; and what assessment they have made of whether those children have been denied education, family visits, and medical attention.

A Answered by: Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon (Conservative) on 10 December 2018

​The UK is extremely concerned about the treatment of Palestinian children detained in Israeli prisons. We continue to make representations to the Israeli authorities on this issue at senior levels, and did so most recently on 29 October with the Israeli Ministry of Justice.

Q Asked by Baroness Tonge (Independent) on 29 January 2019

Foreign and Commonwealth Office: Israel: West Bank. HL13268

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they intend to take to protect Palestinian children in the West Bank from (1) unlawful detention including being detained with no access to legal representation and contact with their parents, and (2) violence and abuse when detained.

A Answered by: Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon (Conservative) on 11 February 2019

We continue to have strong concerns about reports of ill-treatment of Palestinian minors in Israeli military detention. We remain committed to working with Israel to secure improvements to the practices surrounding children in detention in Israel. We advocate for the mandatory use of audio-visual recording of interrogations, a reduction in the use of single hand ties, alternatives to night arrests and for the Israeli authorities to inform more consistently detained children of their legal rights. I raised the issue of children in detention with Israeli Justice Minister Shaked during my visit to Israel on 11 April 2018. We continue to fund projects providing legal aid to minors and capacity building to local lawyers.

Q Asked by Mrs Anne Main (Conservative, St Albans) on: 18 December 2018

Foreign and Commonwealth Office: Israel: Palestinians. 203254

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent steps the Government has taken to return the UK lawyer delegation to Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories to assess the military detention of Palestinian children in the absence of an offer by the Israeli Government to facilitate that contact.

A Answered by: Alistair Burt (Conservative) 28 December 2018

The treatment of Palestinian children in Israeli military detention remains a human rights priority for the UK. We will continue to call upon Israel to improve its practices in line with international law and obligations. We have offered to help the Israeli authorities through expert-to-expert talks with UK officials. The offer still stands and we hope Israel will take us up on it. While we recognise that Israel has made some improvements, it needs to do much more to safeguard vulnerable people in its care.

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