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UN condemns Israel treatment of child detainees

A UN special committee, composed of representatives from Sri Lanka, Malaysia and Senegal, on Thursday condemned [press release] Israel's treatment of child detainees. The committee detailed law enforcement practices such as violent raids on homes without warrants, use of solitary confinement, and interrogators pressuring children to become informants. These findings prompted the UN to call for Israel to change their practices to conform to the human rights values outlined in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child [text]. In particular, the committee called for an end to the use of solitary confinement [UN News Centre report] as punishment for children. According to committee findings, 12 percent of the estimated 500 to 700 underage Palestinians detained by Israel every year are subjected to this form of punishment. The statement also includes concern over general practices of the Israeli government, specifically the destruction of Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem:

These Israeli practices lead the Special Committee to one over-arching and deeply troubling conclusion. ... The mass imprisonment of Palestinians; the routine demolition of homes and the displacement of Palestinians; the widespread violence by Israeli settlers against Palestinians; and the blockade and resultant reliance on illegal smuggling to survive; these practices amount to a strategy to either force the Palestinian people off their land or so severely marginalize them as to establish and maintain a system of permanent oppression.
The full findings of the committee's mission will be presented to the UN General Assembly in November.

There has been a growing concern over human rights violation in Israel. Late last month UN Special Rapporteur Richard Falk called on Israel to stop demolishing Palestinian homes [JURIST report]. The week before that the UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression expressed concern over the freedom of speech in Israel and Palestine [JURIST report]. Also last month, 50 aid groups and UN offices signed a joint statement urging Israel to end its blockade of the Gaza Strip [JURIST report]. In May Falk expressed concern over Israeli prison conditions [JURIST report]. Last November the President of Defence for Children International (DCI) [advocacy website], Rifat Kassis, discussed Palestinian children's rights violations [JURIST comment].

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Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

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