Youth organizations call upon the Dutch government to give attention to child rights in the Palestinian Territories
The Young Socialists (PvdA – Labor Party), Young Democrats (D66 – Democrats 66) and DWARS (GroenLinks – GreenLeft) have concluded, after a trip to Israel and the Palestinian Territories, that the Israeli military rule of law violates international child rights treaties.They call upon the Dutch government to address these violations with the Israeli authorities.
It is common practice that Palestinian children, suspected of an offense, are arrested in the middle of the night. Karen van der Heijden (DWARS): “It is extremely frightening for a child to be apprehended from his bed in the middle of the night by an army unit talking a language he doesn’t understand”.
At this moment 178 Palestinian children are held in Israeli prisonsi. Three quarters of these minors have been subjected to abuse and violence to obtain evidence, according to research done by Defence for Childrenii. Dirkjan Tijs (Young Democrats): “In general children are not informed that they have the right to see a lawyer, that parents are present during interrogations and that they have the right to remain silent”.
A report by the British government in June of this year  calls the circumstances to which these children are subjected “shocking” and “without justification”. The Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem writes that “the rights of Palestinian children are being violated in every single phase of this process [of arrest and detention]”.
The political youth organizations call upon the Dutch government to address these violations of child rights with the Israeli authorities, as Great Britain has already done. Maruschka Gijsbertha (Young Socialists): “It is important that the international community keeps putting pressure on the Israeli government regarding this issue. Even though the political situation is complex, children should never be the victim”.
The organizations make some suggestions to improve the situation. Arrests should only be made during the day. Children should be informed of their rights and have access to a lawyer prior to and during interrogation. This interrogation should be audiovisually recorded. The youth organizations also ask for a legal prohibition of solitary confinement of children. To conclude a system should be put into place for effective monitoring and reporting, to report on methods in which violence and abuse occur and to prevent these methods in the future.