Detention of Palestinian Children (West Bank)

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 11:15 am on 7th December 2010.

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Photo of Richard Burden Richard Burden Labour, Birmingham, Northfield 11:15 am, 7th December 2010

I am afraid that I do not share the hon. Gentleman's view that circumstances may call for unacceptable behaviour. If behaviour is unacceptable, it is unacceptable, and it is unacceptable in this case.

In conclusion, I again invite the Minister to agree with the delegation's recommendations. We came back with some specific recommendations about what we should call on Israel to do. My hon. Friend the Member for Ayr, Carrick and Cumnock made these points, which bear brief repetition. First, no child should be interrogated in the absence of a lawyer of their choice or a family member. Secondly, all interrogation of children should be recorded audio-visually. That now applies to Israeli children but not to Palestinian children. Thirdly, we should call on Israel to ensure that all evidence suspected of being obtained through ill-treatment or torture is rejected by military courts. Fourthly, all credible allegations of ill-treatment and torture should be thoroughly and impartially investigated, and those responsible brought to justice. And, fifthly, no Palestinian child from the occupied territories should be detained outside the provisions of article 76 of the Geneva convention.

The UK has a particular responsibility in this situation. Not only is it a signatory to the fourth Geneva convention, it is a high contracting party to it. It is important that we do rather more than agree that such things are unacceptable; there is an obligation on us to do something about them. I hope that the Minister will give an indication not just of his views on these things-I have no doubt that he will share our abhorrence of some of the things that we saw, and that would be a good, important start, but it is important to say not just what we think about such things but what we are prepared to do about them.