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Home » Public statements »

UNICEF Update: reforms without change

[18 February 2015] – On 13 February 2015, UNICEF issued its second update since the publication of its report – Children in Israeli Military Detention (March 2013). After reviewing over 400 sworn testimonies UNICEF’s conclusion in 2013 was that “the ill-treatment of children who come in contact with the military detention system appears to be widespread, systematic and institutionalized throughout the process.” 

According to UNICEF’s latest update, “reports of alleged ill-treatment of children during arrest, transfer, interrogation and detention have not significantly decreased in 2013 and 2014". This conclusion appears to be based, in part, on 208 affidavits gathered by the UN Working Group on Grave Violations against Children relating to minors detained between 2013 and September 2014. A summary of the evidence presented by UNICEF in its second update is presented in the following table.
 
     Evidence presented by UNICEF in its second update (February 2015) – 208 affidavits
#
Description
No.
%
1
Painfully hand-tied
189
91%
2
Physical violence
171
82%
3
Not adequately informed of legal rights
163
78%
4
Blindfolded
162
78%
5
Strip searched
148
71%
6
Verbal abuse
144
69%
7
Transferred on floor of vehicle
89
43%
8
Arrested at night
79
38%
9
Signed confession in Hebrew
63
30%
10
Solitary confinement
28
13%
 
 
Whilst UNICEF’s second update also highlights a number of legislative and procedural changes that have occurred, and refers to an ongoing dialogue process with the military authorities, the evidence appears to confirm that the ill-treatment of children is still “widespread, systematic and institutionalized”. Accordingly, it is reasonable to conclude that the implemented reforms have been largely ineffectual at stemming the violations.
 
Finally, UNICEF has confirmed that no progress has been made in ensuring that Palestinian children from the West Bank are not forcibly transferred to prisons located inside Israel in violation of Article 76 of the Fourth Geneva Convention.
 
  
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