oPt

OPT: Detention of young children up 40%

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[Ramallah, 11 January 2010] - According to the latest figures compiled by DCI-Palestine from sources including the Israeli Prison Service (IPS) and temporary Israeli army detention facilities, the number of Palestinian children detained in Israeli prisons and detention centres inside Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory at the end of December 2009, was 305.

In December, the number of Palestinian children held in Israeli detention facilities fell to 305, the lowest figure for the year. However, the monthly average number of Palestinian children held in Israeli detention in 2009 was 11 percent higher than in 2008. (355 per month in 2009, compared with 319 in 2008).

Table 1 - Number of Palestinian children in Israeli detention at the end of each month since January 2008

Year/Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec

2008 327 307 325 327 337 323 324 293 304 297 327 342

2009 389 423 420 391 346 355 342 339 326 325 306 305

(note: these figures are not cumulative)

DCI-Palestine remains concerned by the high number of young children between the ages of 12 and 15 being detained. At the end of December 2009, 42 children in this age category were being held in Israeli detention facilities, compared with 30 children in December 2008. This represents an increase of 40%.

Table 2 - Number of young (12-15) Palestinians in Israeli detention at the end of each month since January 2008

Year/Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec

2008 38 40 45 39 37 34 33 21 23 23 25 30

2009 50 54 53 47 39 47 42 39 40 44 41 42

(note: these figures are not cumulative)

On 14 December 2009, the last Palestinian child to be held in Israeli administrative detention, Hamdi al-Ta'mari, was finally released after the expiry of his fourth administrative detention order. Hamdi was held without charge or trial since December 2008. However, there are still two young adults being detained who were children at the time they received their administrative detention orders (Mohammad Baran (UA 3/09) and Rami Shilbayieh).

There are currently no Palestinian girls being held in Israeli detention.

As a signatory to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989), Israel is legally bound to give effect to Article 37 which provides that 'the arrest, detention or imprisonment of a child ... shall be used only as a measure of last resort and for the shortest appropriate period of time.'

If you wish to take action, then please consider lobbying your elected representatives and demand that pressure be applied on Israeli authorities to cease the practice of prosecuting Palestinian children as young as 12 in military courts, and detaining them inside Israel.

For further information please see DCI-Palestine's latest report on Palestinian child prisoners.