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Procedures for parents accompanying children during interrogation

[17 February 2015] - In November 2014, Israeli authorities responded to a Freedom of Information (FOI) application submitted by the Association of Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) regarding the procedures for permitting Palestinian parents to accompany their child during interrogations conducted by Israeli authorities in the West Bank.

Although UNICEF has recommended that all Palestinian children detained by the Israeli military in the West Bank be accompanied by a parent throughout the interrogation process, the FOI response reveals that after two years the military authorities have not introduced any procedures to ensure that this occurs.
However, the FOI response does suggest that the Israeli military authorities do have a discretion to permit parents to accompany children when they are interrogated, although emphasising there is no legal requirement under Israeli military law to do so. Be that as it may, evidence collected by MCW indicates that this discretion is only being exercised in favour of parents accompanying their children in 8 per cent of cases.
In circumstances where UNICEF has found that ill-treatment in the system, including during the interrogation phase, appears to be “widespread, systematic and institutionalized”, it remains incumbent on the military authorities to introduce binding legal procedures to ensure that children are accompanied by a parent throughout their interrogation in every case. It should also be noted that according to the most recent evidence available more children than last year continue to report being physically assaulted following their arrest by the Israeli military in the West Bank, confirming that UNICEF’s conclusion still remains valid today.