At least 22 Palestinian children were detained by Palestinian Authority (PA) forces in the first half of the year "using improper procedures", reported Defence for Children International-Palestine (DCIP), with evidence found of "serious violations of children's rights".
Of the 22 cases DCIP documented, "15 were detained by the Criminal Investigation police, two by the National Security forces, two by the Preventative Security forces, two by the Intelligence forces, and one by the Guards' police."
As explained by DCIP, "under the 2016 Palestinian juvenile protection law, the juvenile prosecutor is the only party authorised to order a child's detention, per Article 20. Once an arrest is so ordered, the Palestinian juvenile police force is the singular body legally sanctioned to carry out the arrest."
DCIP also "found evidence of other serious violations of children's rights among the 82 cases documented of Palestinian children arrested by Palestinian authorities in the first six months of the year", including "physical violence against 23 children" – some in the context of interrogation.
The PA signed into law the first Palestinian juvenile protection law in February 2016, creating "juvenile courts and specialised units among police, prosecutors and judges".
Between January and September of this year, DCIP submitted 11 official complaints to the Palestinian General Prosecution Office, Ministry of Social Development, Palestinian Police, Intelligence forces, and the High Justice court.
"One of the complaints addressed overarching ill-treatment against children in conflict with the law, while the rest addressed seven specific juvenile cases," the statement added.
"In several cases, DCIP complaints resulted in positive outcomes, spurring investigations into children's cases and supporting the best interests of the child."