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Volume 714: debated on Thursday 12 November 2009


Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what representations they, the European Union and United Nations agencies have made to the Government of Israel about persons under 18 arrested in the West Bank and convicted by military tribunals on confession evidence obtained in the absence of parents or legal advisers; whether such representations referred to the number of education or family visits during their sentences in Israeli prisons; and what replies have been received. [HL6285]

We are extremely concerned by aspects of the Israeli military justice and detention system, including allegations of Palestinian children being detained and interrogated without access to a lawyer or to visits by family members; and allegations that they are subjected to treatment that breaches the UN Convention Against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman, and Degrading Treatment or Punishment of 1984, in order to obtain confessions.

The Government expressed their concern about this issue at the Human Rights Council in November 2008. It was also one of several concerns highlighted in a report, published in May 2009, by the UN Committee Against Torture. Israel is a state party to both the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child of 1989 and the UN Convention against Torture of 1984. Israel has also stated it takes seriously its periodic reports before the treaty bodies, using them as an opportunity for in-depth self-examination. We strongly urge Israel to abide by its obligations in the UN conventions and other relevant rules of international law.