Three human rights groups urged the international community to take action to end Israel’s torture and ill-treatment of Palestinian children, on the occasion of the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture (June 26).
In a joint statement, Adalah, Al Mezan, and Physicians for Human Rights-Israel say that the Israeli authorities continue, with no accountability, to subject Palestinian prisoners and civilians from the Occupied Territory to torture and ill-treatment.
Israel ratified the UN Convention Against Torture (CAT) in 1991, but to this day, has “no legislation that criminalizes torture and ill-treatment”, and continues “to use these practices against Palestinian civilians, prisoners and detainees, including children, in violation of its obligations.”
Last month, the UN Committee Against Torture issued more than 50 recommendations to end Israel’s lack of compliance with the UN CAT. These include to “end administrative detention, prohibit the solitary confinement of children, refrain from force-feeding hunger striking prisoners, and investigate cases of suspected unlawful killings.”
The human rights groups demand international action to end the “severe acts of torture and ill-treatment” by Israeli authorities, as well as “transparency and accountability” so that “perpetrators of torture and ill-treatment are brought to account and that future violations are prevented.”
The joint statement includes personal testimonies, such as that of 14-year-old Mohamed.
In September 2015, Mohamed crossed the border fence from Gaza into Israel after finding that the barbed wires had been cut and that several young demonstrators were on the other side. Israeli soldiers in jeeps soon fired at the group and surrounded them. The soldiers demanded that Mohamed strip naked, and when he refused, they kicked him, threatened to shoot him, and forcefully undressed him. The soldiers then went on to hit and kick him for 10 minutes, including with the butt of a gun. Mohamed’s tooth was broken and he vomited blood before passing out.
When Mohamed regained consciousness, he found himself inside a moving vehicle being taken to a military site. Upon arrival, Mohamed was blindfolded and made to sit on the floor with his hands tied, wearing only underwear. Mohamed was interrogated for three days, during which the interrogators tried to make him confess that he was a member of a militant faction. The interrogators hit and kicked him including with a sharp object on his shoulder. They cursed at him while soldiers nearby listened to music as he was being beaten. When he was asleep, the soldiers poured cold water over him to wake him up. At one point, Mohamed asked for water but was given wine instead. Another time, a soldier told Mohamed to smoke a cigarette, and when Mohamed refused, the soldier pressed the cigarette onto his foot.