Majority of Palestinian children in Israeli prisons are abused: Report
New research by Save the Children reveals that four out of five Palestinian children in Israeli prisons are beaten.
Palestinian children in Israeli prisons are reportedly subjected to one or more forms of humiliation and physical and psychological torture through a number of systematic tools and methods that contradict international norms and conventions on children's rights. These violations actually start from the first moment of arrest and continue during the period of investigation and detention.
New research by Save the Children revealed that four out of five Palestinian children in Israeli prisons are beaten. Additionally, 69% of these children are also strip-searched.
42% of the children are hurt when they are arrested, including getting shot and having their bones broken. According to the child rights organization, some reported sexual abuse, while others are moved in cramped cages to court or between detention facilities.
Jason Lee, Save the Children's country director in occupied Palestine, said: "There's simply no justification for beating and stripping children, treating them like animals or robbing them of their futures. This is a child protection crisis that can no longer be ignored. There must finally be an end to this abusive military detention system."
The majority of children are assaulted, shackled, and blindfolded upon detention, according to Save the Children and a partner organization that spoke with 228 former child detainees from across the occupied West Bank. The children were detained for a period of between one and 18 months.
"They are also interrogated at unknown locations without the presence of a caregiver and are often deprived of food, water, and sleep, or access to legal counsel," as per the research.
The primary charge for these detentions is hurling stones, which carries a 20-year jail sentence for Palestinian minors. Some children reported being forced to accuse others of wrongdoing in order to be released from Israeli prisons.
The researchers also cautioned that because of the mistreatment, the children are increasingly unable to properly resume their regular lives after being released from Israeli prisons.
Save the Children urged the Israeli occupation authorities to respect all children's rights and international law. "No children should be prosecuted in military courts or any court that lacks comprehensive fair trial rights and juvenile justice standards."
Until the end of 2022, the number of children imprisoned in Israeli prisons reached about 160 children placed in special sections in the "Ofer", "Megiddo", and "Damon" prisons, not to mention a number of detention centers, including two girls placed in Damon prison: Noufout Hammad (16 years) from Al-Quds, and Zamzam Al-Qawasmeh (17 years) from al-Khalil.
Palestinian children in Israeli prisons reportedly sleep on the floor due to bed bugs festering the mattresses, while the walls are moldy and crumbling, in addition to mice and rats infesting the cells, as they suffer in abysmal conditions amid strict routines that govern every aspect of their lives.