Injustice to the defenceless: the plight of Palestinian children in Israeli military detention.

20th February 2024

with Claire Nicholl (Save the Children), Tareq Shrourou (Lawyers for Palestinian Human Rights) and Jude Lanchin (solicitor).

Save the Children Intro Video

Watch Recording Here

Listen to Recording/Podcast Here

Save the Children Call to Action

The military arrest, detention and prosecution of Palestinian children is a major and long‑standing human rights concern. The latest findings in this research follow a deeply concerning trend over the past decade and confirm the worst. This is an ongoing and significant child protection crisis. Severe child rights violations continue with immediate and long-term impacts on detained Palestinian children.

Save the Children is calling for an immediate moratorium on Israeli military authorities arresting, detaining and prosecuting children.

No child should come into contact with the abusive detention system, until substantive reforms are made.

The Government of Israel should:

  • Bring the system into compliance with international law and international juvenile justice standards. This could be done, for example, through the public acceptance and swift implementation of updated recommendations outlined in UNICEF’s 2013 report;
  • Ensure regular, unhindered access to appropriate experts for purposes of monitoring, such as the ICRC and UN Human Rights personnel.

Those with the requisite skills and mandate should also investigate the abuse of Palestinian children in the Israeli military detention system to determine whether this meets standards for torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. Further investigation must also be given to the reports from children of violence and abuse of a sexual nature within the military detention system, including whether this constitutes conflict-related sexual violence.

No child should be prosecuted in military courts or any court that lacks comprehensive fair trial rights and juvenile justice standards. The Government of Israel must respect all children’s rights and international law. Only when all these changes have been made, can generations of Palestinian children live their lives free from fear of arbitrary military arrest and detention.

Claire Nicholl is Save the Children’s Regional Humanitarian Policy & Advocacy Lead for the Middle East. She has been working with the agency’s team in the occupied Palestinian territory for many years, and is the author of several reports on the treatment of Palestinian children in Israeli military detention. This work has been underpinned by her time spent with former detainees and other children and young people in the oPt, including supporting the Gaza children’s council. 

Tareq Shrourou is Director & Principal Lawyer of the UK legal charity, Lawyers for Palestinian Human Rights. Before becoming LPHR’s first director, he worked as a solicitor specialising in asylum and human rights law, and co-managed the public legal advice service of the UK human rights organisation, Liberty. He holds an LLM in Public International Law from King’s College London.

Jude Lanchin qualified as a solicitor in 1994, after a career in community-based work. She is an associate at Bindmans. She has maintained a strong interest in the rights of the child in the oPt and was a key part of a delegation of British jurists which visited Israel and Palestine in 2011 in a mission funded by the Foreign Office. The delegation was tasked with investigating the situation of Palestinian children in Israeli detention. They produced a report, which is available here. Today, Jude will discuss this report and developments since 2011. 

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