The UK Pays Disproportionate Attention to Palestinian Child Prisoners

(Times of Israel) Jennifer Gerber - On Feb. 7, Britain's parliament debated the issue of Palestinian child prisoners, the second time in two years that a debate on this topic has been secured. During this period, the House of Commons has not seen fit to expend time debating the issue of juvenile offenders with specific reference to any other country in the world. International law bars the application of the death penalty for crimes committed by those under the age of 18. Since 2010, Egypt, Iran, the Maldives, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, Sudan and Yemen have all sentenced young people to death. Iran has at least 80 juvenile offenders on death row and leads the world in executing minors. There has, however, been no debate in the House of Commons in the last two years on the execution of juvenile offenders. The House of Commons has also not debated Britain's own record on arresting and locking up children over the past two years. England and Wales criminalize children from the age of 10 (the age of criminal responsibility is 12 in Israel and the West Bank). Adjusted for population, 5.5 times more minors were arrested in England and Wales in the year to March 2016 than in the West Bank by Israel. Nearly 3/4 of the offenses committed by minors in the West Bank are for violent crimes, including murder, attempted murder, shooting and the illegal possession of weapons. It appears that - once again - Israel is being singled out for disproportionate criticism and scrutiny. The writer is director of Labour Friends of Israel.

2018-02-09 00:00:00

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