Israel is placing increasing numbers of arrested Palestinian children in solitary confinement, an international children’s rights group said in a report issued Monday.
The report came just months after Israel’s army, under international pressure to introduce reforms, agreed to test alternative treatment for children it detains in the West Bank.
In more than one in five cases recorded by Defense for Children International (DCI) in 2013, children detained for questioning by the army reported “undergoing solitary confinement,” it said in a statement.
This was a two-percent rise on 2012 figures, it added.
“Use of isolation against Palestinian children as an interrogation tool is a growing trend,” said Ayed Abu Eqtaish of DCI in the occupied Palestinian territories.
“This is a violation of children’s rights and the international community must demand justice and accountability,” he said.
“Globally, children and juvenile offenders are often held in isolation either as a disciplinary measure or to separate them from adult populations,” DCI said.
“The use of solitary confinement by Israeli authorities does not appear to be related to any disciplinary, protective, or medical rationale.”
DCI’s research included 98 sworn affidavits from Palestinian children aged 12 to 17.
In October, the UN children’s fund (UNICEF) said Israel had agreed to test alternative treatment for Palestinian children arrested in the West Bank.
These included issuing summons instead of arresting children at their homes in violent, overnight raids that often lead into street battles with locals who confront the occupation forces.
But UNICEF said that “ongoing” violations by the army were rife and included physical violence and verbal abuse.
Over the past decade, Israeli forces have arrested, interrogated and prosecuted around 7,000 children between 12 and 17, mostly boys, UNICEF found, noting the rate was equivalent to “an average of two children each day.”