The UN Children’s Fund has said Israel’s army and police force continue to mistreat Palestinian youths during arrests and detentions, despite agreeing to test alternative treatment following international pressure.
Teh fund’s progress report, released on Monday, stated that “violations are ongoing”, seven months after an initial paper was released which highlighted widrespread mistreatment of Palestinian youths arrested in the occupied West Bank.
The report cited 19 sample cases of alleged abuse of youths aged between 12 and 17 in the occupied West Bank in the second quarter of 2013.
In all cases, the detainees, all male, suffered physical violence, including beating, kicking and slapping, while in 17 cases they were verbally abused.
UNICEF’s March report, entitled “Children in Israeli Military Detention”, said Israel systematically tried youths in military courts, and gave evidence of practices it said were “cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment”.
It described mistreatment of teenagers in Israeli jails as “widespread”.
“Ill-treatment of Palestinian children in the Israeli military detention system appears to be widespread, systematic and institutionalised,” it concluded, outlining 38 recommendations.
UNICEF said in its statement that Israel was taking steps towards addressing that report’s recommendations.
The measures being tested include the Israeli army issuing summons for youths instead of arresting them at night at their homes.
And a military order in April reduced from four days to 24 hours the amount of time a 12-13-year-old can be detained until being brought before a military judge.
Over the past decade, Israeli forces have arrested, interrogated and prosecuted around 7,000 children between 12 and 17, mostly males, UNICEF found, noting the rate was equivalent to “an average of two children each day”.
“The monthly average for 2013 shows that 219 children per month were in Israeli military custody, compared to 196 per month in 2012, marking a 12 percent increase,” UNICEF said on Monday.