Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Questions (36)

Maureen O'Sullivan


36. Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if his attention has been drawn to testimonies of abuse endured by children in Palestine as published in a magazine (details supplied); if his Department has made representations at EU level of the abuses suffered by Palestinian children under Israeli Army practices; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28133/14]

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Written answers (Question to Foreign)

I have paid particular attention to the incidence and conditions of detention of Palestinian children. The report referred to provides graphic details of further allegations of practices which are clearly unacceptable. My view is simple: Palestinian children in Israeli custody should be afforded the same rights, protection, and treatment under the law which Israel rightly considers appropriate for Israeli children, and in conformity with international standards.

Ireland has repeatedly drawn attention to concerns regarding the treatment of Palestinian prisoners, including minors. We have also pursued these issues in cooperation with our EU partners, in particular in local coordination of EU Missions on human rights issues. At the Universal Periodic Review of Israel at the UN Human Rights Council in October 2013, Ireland recommended, inter alia, that Israel end the practise of night arrests of children, the admissibility in evidence in military courts of written confessions in Hebrew signed by Palestinian children, the use of solitary confinement against minors, and the denial of access to family members or to legal representation.

These serious concerns were among those raised by Ireland in its statement under item 7 on “the human rights situation in Palestine” at the 25th session of the Human Rights Council in March. In addition, Ireland raises its concerns bilaterally, both with the Israeli Embassy in Dublin and with the relevant authorities in Israel, at every appropriate opportunity. We will continue to do so. Ireland also provides financial support to Israeli and Palestinian NGOs who are active in bringing these issues to light. We have seen some improvements in the treatment of minors in detention. Reports, such as the one highlighted by the Deputy in this question, clearly demonstrate that much more remains to be done.