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Evidence update - Administrative Detention

[30 April 2024] – The previous 12 months have seen a dramatic surge in the number of Palestinian children held without charge or trial in Israeli administrative detention. In the 8 years prior to 2023 (2015-2022), the monthly average number of children held in administrative detention was 3.6. In the 4 years prior to 2015 (2011-2014), no children were held in administrative detention, suggesting there are no compelling reasons why this procedure should be used on children. Based on data provided by the Israel Prison Service (IPS), the monthly average number of children held in administrative detention in 2023 rose to 23.2 - an increase of 544 percent. (IPS statistics)

While administrative detention is permitted under international law in strictly limited circumstances, such as "imperative reasons of security" (Geneva IV - art. 78), or "in time of public emergency which threatens the life of the nation" (ICCPR - art. 4), it is a procedure that should only be used in exceptional and limited circumstances and not as a substitute for a judicial process with all the legal rights and protections that this entails. Using administrative detention in the context of a military occupation conducted in violation of multiple UN Security Council resolutions for 56 years is not a legitimate application of the procedure. 
Children held in administrative detention describe the devastating impact that being held without charge or trial for an indefinite period of time has on their psychological wellbeing. The orders can be issued for up to 6 months and renewed an indefinite number of times. The recipient of the order has no means to effectively challenge their detention, which is generally based on secret evidence, and has no means to determine the duration of their incarceration. It is not uncommon for these orders to be extended in the final days of an existing order when the child anticipates that he/she is about to be released - compounding their sense of despair.
According to data published by the IPS in December 2023, out of 8,308 Palestinians held in detention, 3,288 (40 percent) were being held without charge or trial in administrative detention, including 49 children (36 percent of the total number of children detained). The IPS has not updated these figures as of 15 May 2024.
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