Dora McPhee (VIC) writes to Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd re Palestinian child prisoners 24Oct11 October 24, 2011

Dear Minister Rudd,

Recently, Gerard Horton, a lawyer at Defence for Children International, which represents Palestinian children in court called for the release of over 160 Palestinian children currently detained in Israeli jails. In most cases the offence is stone-throwing and indeed in some cases merely being in the vicinity where stone-throwing is occurring.

Similar appeals have been made by Irish member of the European Parliament Proinsias De Rossa MEP:

as well as UNICEF:


Israel’s detention of Palestinian children frequently violates their rights as a child and more importantly subjects them to physical and psychological abuse as reported by human rights organisations. The recently released Defence for Children International-Palestine report has cited 80 percent of children in a sample of 20 reported being subjected to physical violence during arrest, transfer or subsequent questioning.

According to the United Nations Human Rights Council, ‘administrative’ detention is regularly used against Palestinian children with many instances of them being detained in the same facilities as adult prisoners. Their rights are denied and they are thrown into seriously bad prison conditions including over-crowding, family visits denied, arbitrary transfers, torture and ill-treatment by Israeli security soldiers and prison guards, deteriorating health conditions and increasing deaths in custody.

I write to ask the Australian government to heed these calls and add its voice in calling for the release of Palestinian child detainees, many of whom are doubly traumatised by having to experience home demolitions, settler violence and the humiliation and impoverishment of their own families under Israel’s occupation – an occupation that violates the human rights of Palestinians on a daily basis.

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