URGENT CALL: Release Palestinian Children Unlawfully Detained by Israel
URGENT CALL: Release Palestinian Children Unlawfully Detained by Israel Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, hundreds of Palestinian children are still systematically prosecuted, detained, and subjected to ill-treatment, including deliberate medical negligence, as well as physical and psychological violence. Currently, Israel, the occupying power, holds 194 Palestinian children in Israeli detention centers, most of whom are based in Israel, in clear violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention. Thirty of these children are between the age of 14-15, 164 are between 16 and 17, and two of them are held indefinitely in administrative detentions without access to legal counsel or family visits. Palestinian children are being held together for prolonged periods of time and are at heightened risk of person-to-person and droplet transmission of pathogens, like COVID-19. These children are victims of Israel’s inhumane policy of arbitrary mass detention and deliberate medical negligence, thus leaving children in poor nutrition and hygiene and weak immune defense systems. Israel, the occupying power, is responsible for the protection of Palestinian children in accordance with its obligation as an occupying power under fourth Geneva Convention and the Convention on the Rights of the Child as well as other relevant human rights treaties, which guarantee children the right to the highest attainable standard of health. The State of Palestine welcomes the joint statement by the Humanitarian Coordinator in the occupied Palestinian territory, UNICEF Special Representative in State of Palestine, and Head of the UN Human Rights Office in Palestine, calling for the release of Palestinian children from detention. The State of Palestine also welcomes earlier calls by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, UN Experts, UNICEF, the World Health Organizations, and other International Organizations, for the immediate release of children from detention centers. In this regard, the State of Palestine notes with dismay that the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, Ms. Virginia Gamba, did not join this urgent appeal and call on her to urgently take all necessary measures to protect Palestinian children and advocate for their protection and well-being in line with her mandate. The State of Palestine holds Israel, the occupying power, wholly responsible for the welfare and health of child prisoners and reaffirms its call on Israel to adhere to its obligations under international law and release them immediately. The State of Palestine calls on all States to assume their responsibilities under the Fourth Geneva Convention and compel Israeli occupation to end its cruel policy of arbitrary mass detention of Palestinian children and release all imprisoned Palestinian children.