Israel: Palestinians

Foreign and Commonwealth Office written question – answered on 12th January 2016.

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Photo of Steve McCabe Steve McCabe Labour, Birmingham, Selly Oak

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what discussions his Department has had with the Israeli government on the detention of children; and what steps he has taken to encourage that government to reduce the number of Palestinian minors held in Israeli prisons.

Photo of Tobias Ellwood Tobias Ellwood The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs

As I made clear on 6 January during a Westminster Hall debate, the UK remains concerned about the detention of Palestinian children in Israeli prisons.

In 2012, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) funded an independent report on Children in Military Custody by leading British lawyers. FCO Ministers and the British Ambassador in Tel Aviv have spoken and written to both the Israeli Justice Minister and the Israeli Attorney General to urge that Israel addresses the report's recommendations. On 23 November 2015, officials from our Embassy in Tel Aviv again raised our concerns about the treatment of Palestinian minors in Israeli military detention with the Israeli Chief Military Prosecutor.

We welcome recent improvements made by the Israeli authorities, including increasing the age of majority from 16 to 18 years old. However, we remain concerned at the number of Palestinian minors held in Israeli detention. We continue to push for further measures to ensure that international standards are upheld in regards to the treatment of Palestinian children detained.

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