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MCW Annual Report - 2017/18

[14 June 2018] – A new report by Military Court Watch (MCW) - Annual Report (2017/18) - considers developments relating to the arrest and detention of children by the Israeli military in the West Bank in 2017 and 2018. In addition to reviewing relevant legal and procedural changes in the system the report considers the findings from 114 testimonies obtained from children detained during the course of 2017, and considers the trends based on 604 testimonies obtained since 2013.

While noting a number of relevant changes to the system in recent years, the evidence suggests that this has not translated into a significant improvement in the treatment of children who come in contact with the system. The evidence also suggests that UNICEF's 2013 conclusion that "the ill-treatment of children who come in contact with the military detention system appears to be widespread, systematic and institutionalized" is still valid in June 2018.
 
The Report notes:
  • Detention rates have risen by 67 percent since UNICEF published the report – Children in Israeli Military Detention – in March 2013.
     
  • The majority of children continue to be arrested from their homes in military raids at night; tied and blindfolded; transferred, in most cases, on the floor of military vehicles to an interrogation centre in a settlement; and experience, in most cases, physical and verbal abuse as well as threats.
     
  • Over 80 percent of children continue to be interrogated without prior access to a lawyer or being informed of their right to silence under military law. 
     
  • Official data confirms that the policy of systematically transferring Palestinian children out of the West Bank to prisons inside Israel in violation of article 76 of the Fourth Geneva Convention continues in 61 percent of cases.
     
  • The evidence suggests a strong geographic link between Israeli settlements in the West Bank and the military detention of children living in close proximity, with 97 percent of children detained living within 800 metres of a settlement.
 
The Report also reviews progress made in implementing the recommendations included in the UK lawyers and UNICEF reports. While noting significant developments across a range of recommendations, less than 3 percent of the recommendations have been substantially implemented after 6 years.