Today, the Humanitarian Coordinator in the occupied Palestinian territory, Jamie McGoldrick, along with the UNICEF Special Representative in State of Palestine, Genevieve Boutin, and the Head of the UN Human Rights Office in the occupied Palestinian territory, James Heenan, issued a joint statement expressing concern over the continued detention of Palestinian children by Israeli authorities in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The officials called for the immediate release of all children in detention, including Palestinian children.
At end of March, 194 Palestinian children were detained by the Israeli authorities in prisons and detention centres, mainly in Israel, according to data released by the Israeli Prison Service. This is higher than the monthly average number of children detained in 2019.
The three UN officials said that children in detention face heightened risk of contracting COVID-19, with physical distancing and other preventive measures often absent or difficult to achieve.
Due to COVID-19, legal proceedings are on hold, almost all prison visits are cancelled, and children are denied in-person access to their families and their lawyers.
This is creating additional hardship and psychological suffering, and preventing children from receiving the legal advice they are entitled to.