11 April 2013
AL-KHALIL (HEBRON): New report documents the loss of childhood
| Israeli soldiers detain an 8-year old boy in front of
the Ibrahimi boy’s school in Hebron 21 March 2013.
A newly released report compiled by
internationals working in the West Bank city of Hebron documents an alarming
rate of abuse of the rights of children. Human rights workers in H2, the
portion of the city under Israeli military control, have witnessed 47 detentions
or arrests of children age fifteen and under by soldiers since the start of
February. Other violations documented in the report include conducting war
training when children are present, delaying children and teachers as they pass
checkpoints to access schools, detaining children in adult facilities,
questioning children without the presence of an adult, and blindfolding
children in detention.
Childhoods: Impact of the actions of Israeli soldiers on Palestinian children
in H2 (Occupied Hebron) during February, March and April 2013 documents the alarming regularity of
soldiers violating the rights of children to access education, to play, to have
a parent, guardian or lawyer present when detained, and to move freely on their
Documentation in the report was
collected by three human rights organizations working in Hebron. Christian
Peacemaker Teams, International Solidarity Movement, and Ecumenical
Accompaniment Programme in Israel and Palestine all maintain teams in Hebron in
order to provide protective presence and documentation in civilian
The arrest on March 20, 2013, of 27
children outside a Hebron Elementary school has drawn attention to the extreme
vulnerability of children living in occupied Hebron. Human rights workers in
the city point out, however, that the mass arrest is far from an isolated
event. All of the children in the neighborhoods in and around Hebron’s Old City
must pass through military checkpoints to reach school, clinics and markets.
The report calls upon duty bearers
to assure the human rights of children are respected. As Occupying Power the
State of Israel is responsible for abiding by international law and for
protecting the specific rights of children. Rights workers in Hebron call upon
relevant UN agencies and non-governmental organizations to carry out their
mandate by providing protection for children, and to pressure the State of
Israel to change its policy vis-à-vis children in the Old City and H2.
In releasing the report, human
rights workers in Hebron call upon consulates, churches and human rights
organizations to formally protest the human rights crisis faced by children in
Hebron and demand that the rights of children be protected.