UCC Presses Israel to Honor Human Rights of Palestinian Children Prisoners

'Israel is the only country in the world that systematically prosecutes between 500 and 700 children in military courts each year.' (Photo: Maan)

Delegates at the 31st General Synod of the United Church of Christ in Baltimore, Maryland, voted overwhelmingly on Sunday night – 79% yes, 13% no, 9% abstain – in favor of a resolution which calls on the State of Israel to guarantee basic due process rights and exercise an absolute prohibition against torture and ill-treatment of detained Palestinian children, according to a press release.

With the passage of this resolution, the United Church of Christ (UCC) calls for protection of human rights of the children of Palestine. This call is based upon longstanding theological values of protecting vulnerable children and is informed by the witness of Palestinian Christian theologians as expressed in the 2009 document Kairos Palestine – a Moment of Truth.

The resolution also cites established international law, specifically the UN Convention for the Rights of the Child, which Israel has signed.

Angelica Harter, longtime leader within United Church of Christ Palestine/Israel Network agrees, “Torture and abuse of children are totally unacceptable in any society. We must speak up as individuals and as the United Church of Christ to protest our U.S. complicity in this abuse.”

General Synod delegate Rev. Catherine Alder attests, “No child should be bound and blindfolded by Israeli military, taken in the middle of the night from his or her home, ripped from family, forced to sign a confession in a foreign language, go without legal representation or parental presence — all actions which are against international law. This must stop now.”

One teen youth delegate testified in favor of the resolution, lamenting nighttime arrests of sleeping children. She concluded her remarks by saying, “I go to bed knowing I am safe, knowing I am protected. These children aren’t so fortunate.”

The UCC Palestine/Israel Network (UCC PIN), drafters of the resolution, worked with many allies and interfaith partners. The resolution gained co-sponsorship from 15 UCC congregations, endorsements from over two dozen ecumenical and interfaith allies, and expressions of support and gratitude from U.S. and Palestinian partners.

“This resolution from the United Church of Christ comes at a desperately urgent moment,” said Beth Miller of No Way to Treat a Child campaign. “Palestinian children are being detained in greater numbers and suffering increasingly severe abuse at the hands of Israeli forces. In passing this call to action with a strong majority, the UCC joins a growing movement of people in the U.S. standing up and demanding a safe and just future for Palestinian children.”

(Wafa, PC, Social Media)

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