Detention of Palestinian Children

The detention of Palestinian children in Israeli prisons is extremely worrying and the Government share these concerns. Foreign Office Minister, Alistair Burt, raised the UK's concerns with the Israeli Ambassador to the UK on 27 February.

Israel has made some progress on this issue. It has reduced the number of detainees aged between 12 and 14, increased the age of maturity from 16 to 18, established separate juvenile courts and enacted a special statute of limitations for minors. However, the UK assessment is that Israel is still falling short and needs to do more to safeguard vulnerable people in its care.

In 2012, an independent report on Children in Military Custody was funded and facilitated by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Since its publication, Ministers and our Ambassador to Israel have strongly urged the recommendations of the report to be implemented. To my knowledge, Israel has only implemented one of 40 recommendations.

The UK is committed to helping the Israeli authorities to make the necessary changes. Last year, the UK invited them to attend expert discussions with the Metropolitan Police to share more than 30 years of UK experience of implementing regulations designed specifically to protect the rights of minors in detention. Unfortunately, the invitation was declined.