A high-powered delegation of UK lawyers backed by Britain’s Foreign Office today released a report, “Children in Military Custody”, detailing violations by Israel of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child in its treatment of Palestinian detainees.
Led by retired high court judge Sir Stephen Sedley, who is Jewish, the delegation, which includes former attorney-general Lady Scotland, reported on a visit to Israel and the West Bank and concluded there had been at least six breaches of the UN convention and other violations of international law.
“Every year,” says the report, “hundreds of Palestinian children are traumatised, sometimes irreversibly, are denied part of the their schooling and then live at ongoing risk of much harsher punishment if they are arrested again.”
The Guardian newspaper, which has closely followed the situation of detainees, earlier this year webcast a video, reproduced on our home page, highlighting the appalling conditions of Palestinian children held in solitary confinement.
I have a love-hate relationship with London. Growing up in Lancashire I was astonished by its flagrant wealth and arrogant disregard of the rest of the country, where in those days we actually produced stuff.
Then I lived here, for the most turbulent, demanding and exhilarating time of my life. Coming back from Australia, 25 years on, there is still so much that angers me – the monarchy, the greedy City financiers, the huge inequalities, in a word the class system.
But here is just some of what I love:
- the great mix of cultures on every street;
- the hordes of young people everywhere breaking down distinctions of race and class;
- old friends and comrades who stay true to our shared past;
- the history at every corner, a history of striving and conflict, and of those who recorded it;
- the parks where you can walk alongside people from around the world; and
- the great museums, galleries and libraries, with their wealth of art and knowledge open to all.
I wouldn’t have missed these few short days for anything.
But now we’re moving on – into a Europe wracked with crisis.
We’ll keep you posted.