NEW YORK, Sunday, April 12, 2020 (WAFA) – The United States-based No Way to Treat a Child campaign has kick-started a petition online demanding the release of around 190 Palestinian child detainees in Israeli jails, at time of a growing coronavirus outbreak in Israel that has so far claimed the lives of about 103 people in Israel.
"We demand that Israeli authorities take immediate action to release all Palestinian child detainees in Israeli prisons and detention centers due to the increasing vulnerability created due to the rapid global spread of the COVID-19 virus and to safeguard their right to life, survival, development, and health in accordance with international law," the campaign said in its statement of the petition.
"There is no way Israeli prison authorities can ensure the health and well-being of Palestinian child detainees as long as they continue to be in a custodial detention setting," added the statement.
No Way to Treat a Child stressed the fact that Palestinian children imprisoned by Israeli authorities "live in close proximity to each other, often in compromised sanitary conditions, with ed access to resources to maintain minimum hygiene routines, according to documentation collected by DCIP."
The campaign added, "COVID-19‘s impact is exacerbated by these living conditions making Palestinian children in Israeli prisons and detention centers increasingly vulnerable… While international law demands that children only be detained as a measure of last resort, custodial pre-trial detention is the norm for Palestinian children detained by Israeli forces from the occupied West Bank."
It said four Palestinian prisoners detained at Israel‘s Megiddo prison – one of several detention facilities located inside Israel where Palestinian child "security prisoners" are held – have been placed in isolation after they were in contact with a COVID-19 positive Israeli officer.
The No Way to Treat a Child campaign seeks to challenge and end Israel‘s prolonged military occupation of Palestinians by exposing widespread and systematic ill-treatment of Palestinian children in the Israeli military detention system. It is a joint project of Defense for Children International - Palestine and American Friends Service Committee.