WASHINGTON, DC, November 14, 2017 – The US Campaign for Palestinian Rights welcomes the introduction of the Promoting Human Rights by Ending Israeli Military Detention of Palestinian Children Act, and thanks Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN) for introducing it. This piece of landmark legislation, sponsored by ten Members of Congress led by Rep. McCollum, is a step towards justice and equality for Palestinians and will ensure transparency for American taxpayers. Americans deserve to know whether they fund human rights abuses of Palestinian children through the more than $3 billion in military aid the US provides Israel annually.
The Promoting Human Rights by Ending Israeli Military Detention of Palestinian Children Act requires the Secretary of State to certify annually that no funds obligated or expended in the previous year by the US for assistance to Israel have been used to support the ill-treatment of Palestinian children detained by Israeli forces from the occupied West Bank. The mistreatment of Palestinian children in the Israeli military detention system is well-documented by UNICEF, which found in a 2013 report that “ill-treatment of children who come in contact with the military detention system appears to be widespread, systematic and institutionalized…from the moment of arrest until the child’s prosecution and eventual conviction and sentencing.”
“This is a very welcome step toward transparency and accountability for Israel’s behavior toward Palestinians,” USCPR Executive Director Yousef Munayyer said. “It is about time that Congress begins taking action that puts the microscope on Israel’s abusive behavior. I think that all Americans can agree that they deserve to know how their tax dollars are being used, particularly if there is a clear record of their hard-earned dollars going to support the abuse of children’s rights. And it is important that Palestinian children and their families know that despite US support for Israel, many Americans including in the halls of Congress, believe Palestinian children deserve a childhood. The legislation introduced by Rep. McCollum today helps send that message.”
Israel is the only country in the world that systematically prosecutes 500-700 children a year in military courts lacking fundamental fair trial rights. Israeli authorities have persistently failed to implement practical changes to stop violence against child detainees. According to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, of which Israel is a party, Palestinian children have the right to a childhood, the right to not be punished in a cruel or harmful way, and the right to legal help and fair treatment in a justice system that respects their rights. The US must demand that Israeli authorities respect and ensure basic due process rights, and the absolute prohibition of torture and ill-treatment. American taxpayers deserve to know if they are funding Israel’s human rights abuses of Palestinian children.
For background on the legislation, visit our action page.
The US Campaign for Palestinian Rights (USCPR) is a national coalition of hundreds of groups working together for freedom, justice and equality. Founded in 2001 as the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, USCPR has been a leading player in the movement for Palestinian rights in the United States. The coalition is bound by commonly shared principles on Palestine solidarity as well as anti-racism principles.
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