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MCW Annual Report - 2016/17

[27 June 2017] - MCW has released a new report that considers developments relating to the arrest and detention of children by the Israeli military in the West Bank in 2016 and 2017. In addition to reviewing relevant legal and procedural changes in the system the report considers the findings from 127 testimonies obtained from children detained during the course of 2016.

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 2016/17.
 
The report notes that during the course of 2016/17 there appears to have been a level of disengagement by the civilian and military authorities relating to addressing legitimate concerns. Further, the policy of transferring prisoners out of occupied territory in violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention continues and while attempts to reduce the differences between the legal systems applied to Palestinians and Israeli settlers in the West Bank are continuing, the Supreme Court of Israel has accepted that the differential application of the law depending on national identity is "reasonable and proportional" in the circumstances.
 
Based on evidence collected during the course of 2016, the report notes a clear link between the detention of Palestinian children by the military in the West Bank and the proximity of their homes to settlements constructed in violation of international law. The evidence indicates that on average each child detained in the West Bank lives within 1.02 kilometres from a settlement or a major road used by settlers.
 
Finally, the report reviews progress made in implementing the recommendations included in the UK lawyers and UNICEF reports. While noting significant developments across a range of recommendations, only 2.6 percent of recommendations appear to have been substantially implemented during the course of the past 5 years.