Arrests of Children in Jerusalem: Detention, Education, Financial Strains and Social Burdens

12:00 Jun 6 2017 Occupied Palestinian Territories (oPT): Jerusalem

Arrests of Children in Jerusalem: Detention, Education, Financial Strains and Social Burdens
Illustrative photo: Published by Addemeer

by Addemeer (Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association)

House Arrest Factsheet PDF

Currently, an estimated 75 Palestinian children from East Jerusalem are being held in Israeli prisons and detention centers. Based on Addameer’s monitoring of 9 recent and current cases of Palestinian children from Jerusalem from the onset of 2017 who were arrested and, as well as exhaustive Addameer statistics and data from several years of monitoring and legal representation in Jerusalem, this factsheet will explore the effects of arrest and house arrest on a child’s education and development. The factsheet relies on information obtained through visit questionnaires, field visits, and court protocols.

The trends and data are based on 2015-2016 affidavits taken from Palestinian children from Jerusalem who experienced arrest by Israeli forces and were taken to Beit Alyaho Police Center, Oz police center, Salah Al-Din police station, and Qishleh police center, as well as Al-Moscobiyeh. Interrogation within these centers focused on confessions obtained through coercive methods, including physical violence, in the absence of their parents and attorneys. Despite the fact that the interrogation lasted for a few hours in some cases, some of the children were subjected to intense interrogation methods, slaps, beatings, kicking, and being cuffed by hands and legs to the chair. This factsheet aims to examine the aftermath, namely the policy of house arrest and the post-detention experience.

Legalities: No Last Resort for Palestinian Children in Jerusalem

The Convention on the Rights of the Child underlines in Article 27(b) that “No child shall be deprived of his or her liberty unlawfully or arbitrarily.”[1] The article further underlines that in the case of arrest, “the arrest, detention or imprisonment of a child shall be in conformity with the law and shall be used only as a measure of last resort and for the shortest appropriate period of time”.[2]

The Convention states in Article 2 the principle of best interest of the child, underlining that “in all actions concerning children, whether undertaken by public or private social welfare institutions, courts of law, administrative authorities or legislative bodies, the best interests of the child shall be the primary consideration.”[3] These best interests undoubtedly involve treating the children with dignity, freedom from cruel and degrading punishment, the ability to grow, especially through social development, and the pursuit of their education.

The central Israeli legislation that addresses the arrest and detention of children in Jerusalem is the Trial, Punishment and Modes of Treatment Law, 5731-1971 and namely Amendment 14, which took effect in 2009. While the amendment emphasizes the principle of arrest of children only as a last resort, in practice, Palestinian children are not afforded this principle, with systematic arrests and associated discriminatory practices being maintained as the norm. Palestinian children, for example, are more likely to be arrested than Israeli children, and when arrested, are more likely to be held under interrogation without access to their attorneys and parents. Defense for Children International – Palestine has observed through documentation that, “Israeli authorities implement the law in a discriminatory manner, denying Palestinian children in East Jerusalem of their rights from the moment of arrest to the end of legal proceedings.”[4]

Effects on Psychology, Development, and Education

“The minute of arrest in the early mornings at homes is the most fearful experience they went through so far in their lives, because they are waking them up while they are asleep, taking them from their bedrooms, their bed, handcuffing them, blind folding them in front of their parents…who are supposed to represent the protective [figures]....”

- Nader Abu-Amsheh of the East Jerusalem YMCA Children Ex-Detainee Rehabilitation Program[5]

Addameer research has confirmed that traumatic experiences of arrest and associated ill treatment result in symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), as well as disorientation, loss of control of self determination, and low self esteem.[6] Due to the severe trauma resulting from interrogation and the associated feelings of being left behind from their peers, it has been observed that many ex-detainee children drop out of school.

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