The Commission of Detainees' Affairs, in cooperation with the Defense for Children International Movement, the YMCA and Wadi Hilweh Information Center/ Silwan, arranged a workshop at its headquarter in Ramallah on house arrest against children from Jerusalem: the occupation's policy of converting family into jailors. Participants presented papers that explain in details the issue of house arrest and its social and psychological impacts on children, in addition to live testimonies for many children who were subjected to this type of detention.
The Head of the Commission of Detainees' Affairs, Qadri Abu Baker, talked about difficult conditions and the fierce attack imposed on the Captive Movement, especially against children who have been transferred to Damoun prison, and the tragic situation they live in without their representatives of adult detainees.
Abu Baker discussed the issue of children detention in general, and talked in particular about the children from Jerusalem who are suffering from house arrest. He pointed out that there are 25 children under house arrest in Jerusalem. He added, in case the families of those children break the rules of house arrest, the Israeli courts would impose high fines against them.
Abu Baker called on the necessity of exposing the Israeli practices against detainees, especially children, sick and women detainees. He also called on increasing the efforts on the international level to protect our people.
His Excellency Abdulqader Al-Khatib, Deputy-Head of the Commission, welcomed the guests and appreciated the efforts of the participating institutions in this workshop. He stressed on the seriousness and the importance of the issue of minor detainees, and the gravity of house arrest due to its social and psychological impacts on children, his family and society.
The general director of the International Relations Unit, Raed Abu-Hommus, stressed on the importance of warning the parents of the seriousness of house arrest, and determining the legal and psychological methods to help and save them.
The released detainee Durgham A'raj talked shared his experience for more than two years in prison, as a representative on minor detainees from Jerusalem. He stated that minors from Jerusalem are isolated from other sections, and force them to accept the orders of house arrest by the Israeli Ministry of Justice, Intelligence, and the Ministry of Internal Security. He said that the option of resorting to house arrest as a substitute for actual imprisonment destroys the child’s future and is reflected on his psychological condition and family situation. Thus, it is important to warn the parents of the seriousness of this procedure which cause depression to children.
The lawyer of the commission Hiba Masalha discussed the issue of house arrest in the Israeli law, and explained that the period of house arrest is not included in the real sentence against the child, and it may be extended many times. In some cases, child got imprisoned after ending the house arrest. She also stated that the Israeli courts resort to apply other alternatives against those minors, such as holding them at Ovic prison, a prison for criminals, or holding them in housing centers. However, Israeli courts usually resort to house arrest in order to preserve themselves in front of the international community, and to destroy the child morally, psychologically and socially.
The head of the Defense for Children International Movement, Khalid Quzmar, stated that arresting children according to the International Law should be on legal basis and for the shortest period possible, but the Israeli military courts target Palestinian children by arresting and humiliating them. They seek to destroy Palestinian children by applying alternatives of actual imprisonment, such as holding them under house arrest to end their childhood.
The representative of Wadi Hilweh Information Center, Fida' Rwaidy, provided statistical and documental information on the issue of house arrest, and revealed the number of house arrest cases by a filmed report.
Moreover, the representative of YMCA, Candy Jarayseh, stressed on the importance of holding rehabilitation sessions for the minor detainee and his family.
At the end of the workshop,the minor detainee Haitham Khwais from Jerusalem shared his experience and talked about house arrest and its tragic effects.