[3 July 2012] – On 25 June 2012, two unions wrote to the UK’s Foreign Secretary requesting his urgent intervention to prevent the forcible transfer of Palestinian children to prisons inside Israel in violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention.
Article 76 of the Fourth Geneva Convention explicitly prohibits the transfer of prisoners out of occupied territory. The Convention further provides for personal criminal responsibility for any person involved in such transfers. According to figures released by the Israeli Prison Service (IPS) in April 2012, 52 percent of Palestinian children held in Israeli military custody were transferred to detention facilities located inside Israel.
The National Union of Teachers (NUT) and the University and College Union (UCU), with a combined membership of around 500,000, jointly call on the Foreign Secretary to intervene in accordance with the UK’s obligations under article 1 of the Convention “to respect and to ensure respect for the present Convention in all circumstances.”
In a further development, on 27 June 2012, the UK’s largest union, UNITE, voted to campaign on behalf of Palestinian child prisoners. UNITE has a membership of around 1.5 million across all major industry groups in the UK. The combined membership of UK unions now campaigning on behalf of Palestinian child prisoners exceeds 2 million.