A group of Camden school children will meet with Green MEP for London, Jean Lambert, on Saturday to hand over hundreds of letters bound for the European Parliament highlighting the dire situation faced by Palestinian child prisoners languishing in Israeli jails.
The children will be joined by twelve young people from Palestinian town, Abu Dis, as part of a special week-long visit organised by the Camden Abu Dis Friendship Association, a local human rights charity which works to raise awareness of the humanitarian situation in the town as well as establish links between the two localities .
Each year, hundreds of Palestinian children from the Occupied Palestinian Territories are arrested, interrogated and imprisoned by the Israeli military authorities. Whilst international conventions on human rights dictate that children should be treated differently from adults, these under 18s are not. The letters call upon the European Union to continue to raise the issue of child imprisonment with the Israeli authorities and to ensure that Israel abides by the relevant international laws relating to child imprisonment.
Jean, a member of the European Parliament Civil Liberties Committee, said: “The United Nationals Convention on the Rights of the Child defines a child as someone under the age of 18. As a member of the international community, Israel must respect this. It is absolutely unacceptable for children and young people to be locked away in adult detention centres and to be forced to appear before military courts, often without legal representation.
“I believe strongly that all young people, not just those from within the European Union, should be both protected and empowered, not deprived of their liberty and childhood. That’s why this project is so important – though the young people who took part come from very different backgrounds, they will have shared experiences common to teenagers all over the world. They also share an inspiring commitment to human rights and justice and I am so pleased to have the opportunity to meet with them. I will take their letters back to Brussels and make sure their voice is heard.”
Notes to Editors
1. Abu Dis is one of three small towns in the suburb of East Jerusalem divided from Jerusalem by the Israeli Seperation Wall. Abu Dis is twinned with Camden Town.
2. The hand over will take place at Acland Burghley School, Tufnell Park at 10:30am on Saturday 25th June. Children from several Camden schools, including Haverstock, Acland Burghley, Maria Fidelis and South Camden Community School, will take part.