Rotherham MP speaks out about detention of Palestinian children

Sarah Champion, Labour MP for Rotherham
Sarah Champion, Labour MP for Rotherham
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Rotherham MP Sarah Champion has demanded that the UK Government establishes a watch list for those carrying out war crimes against Palestinian children

She led a parliamentary debate on the illegal military detention, transfer and treatment of Palestinian children by Israel and made a series of demands, among them that the UK Government establish a watch list of those involved and make a commitment to arrest and prosecute them should they enter the UK. 

Ms Champion said: “The issue of transferring detainees en masse from occupied territory is a standalone issue because it is a war crime, and after nearly half a century it requires decisive action in accordance with our international legal obligations.

“The Fourth Geneva Convention makes it clear that the UK has a positive legal obligation to search for persons accused of committing grave breaches and to ensure that if such persons enter the UK, they are arrested and prosecuted with all speed.”

She also raised concerns about the treatment of Palestinian children at every stage of the Israeli criminal justice system, including reports of systemic abuse by Israeli authorities and the continued use of night raids on Palestinian homes in making arrests.

There are currently 407 children aged between 12 and 17 in Israeli prisons, and figures released by Military Court Watch - an organisation of lawyers based in the region - show that the detention of children is at its highest since March 2009 and has increased by 138 per cent since September 2015.

The policy of transferring Palestinian prisoners into Israel began in 1967.

The forcible transfer of people from occupied territories is considered a breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention and is now considered a war crime.