21 January 2016
Palestinian Social Workers Stand Against Child Detention
IFSW is concerned by the continuing detention of Palestinian children in Israeli jails and this follows our previous Statement made on Human Rights Day in 2014, endorsing UNICEF’s call for Palestinian children to have the right to protection against violence and abuse in accordance with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
At the end of November 2015, 407 Palestinian minors were held in Israeli prisons as security detainees and prisoners, including 5 administrative detainees. Another 7 Palestinian minors were held in the Israel Prison Service facilities for being in Israel illegally. While there maybe charges to answer, children should be treated in a compassionate way and not detained and interrogated in adult prisons.
A letter from our Palestinian member, PUSWP (the Palestinian Union of Social Workers and Psychologists) is below which includes a disturbing video clip of the interrogation of 13-year-old Ahmad Manasrah, whom Israel accuses of allegedly being involved in a stabbing attempt against Israelis in Jerusalem last October, 2015. Manasrah appeared bursting into tears during interrogation, insisting that he was telling the truth and that he did not remember anything. It showed him begging the investigator to believe him, while crying in despair. Please note the international campaign to highlight the plight of Manasrah at #FreeAhmadManasrah.
As noted in our previous Statement we urge the Israeli government to respect the rights of all children living under its jurisdiction and joins with other international organisations in calling for an immediate ending to the harsh and discriminatory treatment afforded Palestinian minors and calls on the Israeli authorities to end the detention of Palestinian children in Israeli jails.
Issued by Nigel Hall
IFSW Commissioner for Human Rights
Letter to IFSW From the Palestinian Union of Social Workers & Psychologists – Bethlehem Branch
Dear colleagues and social workers around the world,
We salute you from Palestine and hope that you support our campaign and spread the news and information about the children’s situation here. Our international campaign aspires to release all Palestinian children from Israeli prisons, and to advocate for their rights to live in freedom and in a secured atmosphere.
This campaign was launched by the Ibdaa Cultural Center in Deheisheh refugee camp in the West Bank on January 10th. And we as Social Workers are standing by the organizations that stand by children and promote their wellbeing. This campaign has a deadline: on January 22nd, which will coincide with the birthday of the child Ahmad Manasrah.
Ahmad Manasra, is a 13 year old Palestinian child, he was arrested by Israeli soldiers; after claiming that the boy had a knife, and that he made threats with it. He was shot and many settlers cursed with all kind of disgusting names. A video was released showing his brutal interrogation by Israeli interrogators. Manasra’s crying and begging to stop the interrogations didn’t prevent soldiers from psychologically torturing him. Due to his age, Ahmad cannot face jail time until he turns 14, on January, this month.
More than 100 thousands children were arrested by the Israeli military since 1967 and now more than 250 Palestinian children were detained in the last 4 months. More than 200 of them were abused, beaten and assaulted while arresting.
Therefore, this campaign aims to expose the Israeli brutal and oppressive policies against Palestinian children. The day Manasra was born will be a symbol of our hope and freedom. We will all celebrate Manasra’s birthday to celebrate the dream of all Palestinian children to live in freedom. PUSWP with Ibdaa Cultural Center along with several other local and international human organizations in the West Bank, Gaza and a number of Arabic, European and American cities will hold the same event and celebration. His birthday will be on Friday January 22nd.
We indemnify on the international human rights for the Palestinian children to live and enjoy freedom. Fourteen candles will be lit to celebrate Manasra’s 14 years of age, we wish those candles will light the darkness of the oppressive and inhumane Israeli regime against Palestinian children. We wish Mansra and other Palestinian children celebrate their birthdays outside of Israeli jails.
- Freedom to Palestinian children, who are in the prisons of colonizing.
- You will find more information about Ahmad Manasra and the campaign on these links:
Palestinian Union of Social Workers & Psychologists – Bethlehem Branch