20th July 2016 | International Solidarity Movement, East Jerusalem | East Jerusalem, occupied Palestine
ISM encourages everyone to copy and paste the letter below and send it to your Members of Parliament, Congresspeople, and other political representatives.
To support Shadi and his family financially during this very difficult time, please see: https://palsolidarity.org/donate/
I am writing to urge you to act and condemn the violations on children’s rights that are being enforced by the Israeli government against Palestinians. I am extremely concerned about the situation in Palestine, where children are repeatedly arrested, abused and imprisoned by the Israeli forces.
At the moment, the youngest Palestinian child who is being detained in Israel is 12 year old Shadi Farah. He has spent more than six months away from his family already, and the court keeps prolonging his case and the final decision. Evidence against Shadi is very poor. He is accused of attempted manslaughter – allegedly he carried a knife with the intend to stab an Israeli soldier, yet no one was ever hurt by his hand. His interrogation was inhumane and abusive, it lasted for days and neither his parents or lawyer were present.
The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child was ratified by the Israeli government in 1991. Thereby the Israeli government committed to providing all children with a safe childhood, with the care, protection and opportunities that are needed to ensure that childhood is a time free from insecurity, violence or abuse.
This commitment is not being fulfilled by the Israeli government. At the moment, more than 400 Palestinian children are being kept in Israeli prisons. Three-quarters of Palestinian children jailed between 2012 and 2015 endured some form of physical violence following arrest.
According to Defence for Children International Palestine, in 179 of 429 cases, the Israeli military arrested children from their homes in the middle of the night. In 378 out of 429 cases, Israeli forces arrested children without notifying parents of the reason for arrest or the location of detention. In 97 percent of the cases, children had no parent present during interrogation or access to legal counsel. Furthermore, Israeli police did not inform children of their rights in 84 percent of the cases. DCI Palestine informs that 66 children were held in solitary confinement, for an average period of 13 days, during the reporting period. More than 90 percent of children held in solitary confinement provided a confession. This confession is often being used as the only form of evidence to convict the child, as is the case with Shadi.
I beg you to express your concern about this in the Parliament/Congress/EU/UN and make sure that the grave issue of violations of Palestinian children’s rights is being brought to the attention of the Israeli government. Please remind Israel that by ratifying the UN Convention they are obliged to protect every child, in the state of Israel as well as in occupied Palestine. No child deserves the treatment that Palestinian children face every day.
Shadi’s mother, holding a photo of her son.
Shadi with his best friend, Muhammad, and with his father, Anwar Farrah.
Shadi with his father, Anwar.