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Australian lawmakers protest against Israeli abuses of Palestinian …

More than 20 per cent of Australian parliamentarians have joined a call for Israel to end the abuse of Palestinian children at the hands of its military.

Some 51 Federal parliamentarians have signed the statement which was released yesterday in Australia’s Federal Parliament.

In a month of action, many parliamentarians are also delivering speeches in the Australian parliament calling for Israel to end its abuse of children.

The full text of the letter

We, the undersigned Australian Federal parliamentarians, call for urgent action to end the ill treatment of Palestinian children in the Israeli military detention system.

Israel is the only country in the world that automatically prosecutes children in military courts. And only Palestinian children. Up to 700 Palestinian children are arrested each year by the Israeli military, and this number is increasing. UNICEF reports that ill-treatment of Palestinian children is “widespread, systematic, and institutionalised throughout the process”. Children as young as 11 are detained by the military.

According to well documented research, almost all children have no parent or legal counsel during interrogation; 75% report physical violence; a quarter are made to sign documentation in Hebrew, a language they do not understand; 60% are transferred into prisons in Israel meaning family usually cannot visit. Military courts have a 99% conviction rate for Palestinian defendants.

We call on the Israeli Government to comply with its obligations under the Convention on the rights of the child and to not arrest or detain Palestinian children unless this is a last resort, and if they are detained, to immediately institute protections for those children including that their safety and best interests are prioritised, and that they are permitted a fair trial.

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