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Question for Foreign and Commonwealth Office

UIN HL5206, tabled on 25 February 2015

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of reports by UNICEF that children in military detention in Israel have been made to sign untranslated written confessions in Hebrew.

Answered on

5 March 2015

Since the publication of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office-funded independent report on Children in Military Custody in June 2012, there has been some progress on the issue of children held in military detention. This includes a pilot to use summons instead of night-time arrests, and steps to reduce the amount of time a child can be detained before seeing a judge. We have welcomed the steps taken to date, but we have called for further measures, including the mandatory use of audio-visual recording of interrogations, investigation into continued reports of single hand ties being used, and an end to solitary confinement for children. We continue to have concerns about mistreatment of Palestinian detainees including that children in military detention in Israel have been made to sign un-translated written confessions in Hebrew, and about Israel’s respect of its obligations in this regard as an Occupying Power under applicable international law. Israeli interlocutors at the Ministry of Justice have told us that the security orders mandate that all documents must be written in both Hebrew and Arabic – including any information added by hand. We have raised concerns over treatment of Palestinian detainees with the Israeli authorities on many occasions, including at Foreign Minister, Attorney General and National Security Adviser levels. We will continue to follow up on these allegations and raise this issue as a serious concern.