Branch calls for an end to the detention of Palestinian children

Ann Gray
Ann Gray

The branch has expressed its condemnation of the detention of Palestinian children as young as 12 by the Israeli state and has agreed action to seek an end to this.

The branch has written to all MSPs and MPs in our local area calling on them to lobby their governments to press the Government of Israel to free Palestinian children held in detention, in line with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

The branch also raised this issue at the Scottish Council of UNISON branches where our treasurer, Ann Gray, moved a branch motion which was overwhelmingly approved by delegates from across Scotland.

Ann told delegates that our branch has long been concerned about human rights abuses of the Palestinian people by the Israeli State but that we are particularly outraged by the treatment of Palestinian children.

Israel is the only country in the world that systematically prosecutes children in military courts – between 500 and 700 each year and since 2012, Israel has held an average of 204 Palestinian children in custody each month, according to data provided by the Israel Prison Service.

“Ill-treatment in the Israeli military detention system remains “widespread, systematic, and institutionalised throughout the process,” according to the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) report,” said Ann, “Yet the Western world seems unwilling to do anything about such breaches of children’s and human rights.”

“Can you imagine our 12 year olds being treated like that? Our children and grandchildren taken away by soldiers and held in prison, without us having any access to them?” asked Ann.

“We would be incensed and distraught and we should be no less enraged that this is happening day in and day out to the children of Palestine.

“And why? Most face the charge of throwing stones – yes throwing stones – which carries a maximum sentence of 10 or 20 years depending upon the circumstances.”

Ann spoke about the situation of Ahed Tamimi, held in detention since December for slapping a soldier who came into her garden. “Expressing her anger at the shooting of her cousin. And for that she faces years of imprisonment,” said Ann.

“Yet so far the response from our government has been woeful.

“Well that’s just not good enough,” slammed Ann. “We need to spur them into action. We need to insist that the rights we expect for our children, the rights that are accorded to Israeli children are also given to Palestinian children like Ahed Tamimi and all the other Palestinian child prisoners.”

She called on the Scottish Committee, Labour Link and every branch to take action to press the Government of Israel to end the widespread and systemic human rights violations suffered by Palestinian children in Israeli military custody.

Ahed Tamimi

“Let’s give a clear message to our Scottish and UK government that our union demands they act to protect the rights of the children of Palestine and publicly condemn Israel for their shameful treatment of these children.”

You can add your voice to the call to free Ahed Tamimi and other Palestinian child prisoners by clicking here.

The branch will also take this motion to UNISON’s National Delegate Conference in June.