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Congresswoman Betty McCollum

Representing the 4th District of Minnesota

Resources on H.R. 2407, Promoting Human Rights for Palestinian Children Living Under Israeli Military Occupation Act

Congresswoman Betty McCollum (DFL-Minn.) has introduced legislation to promote human rights for Palestinian children by ending abusive Israeli military detention practices. Her legislation, the Promoting Human Rights for Palestinian Children Living Under Israeli Military Occupation Act​, H.R. 2407, amends a provision of the Foreign Assistance Act known as the “Leahy Law” to prohibit funding for the military detention of children in any country, including Israel. Read Rep. McCollum's full statement here.

The Problem

An estimated 10,000 Palestinian children have been detained by Israeli security forces and prosecuted in the Israeli military court system since 2000. Independent monitors such as Human Rights Watch have documented that these children are subject to abuse and, in some cases, torture — specifically citing the use of chokeholds, beatings, and coercive interrogation on children between the ages of 11 and 15.

In addition, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) found that Palestinian children are frequently held for extended periods without access to either their parents or attorneys. The United States Department of State and the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child have also raised serious concerns about the mistreatment of Palestinian children in Israeli military custody.

The Legislation

Given that the Israeli government receives billions of dollars in assistance from the United States, Congress must work to ensure that American taxpayer dollars never support the Israeli military’s detention or abuse of Palestinian children. Congresswoman McCollum’s legislation, the Promoting Human Rights for Palestinian Children Living Under Israeli Military Occupation Act​, amends a provision of the Foreign Assistance Act known as the “Leahy Law” to prohibit funding for the military detention of children in any country, including Israel. The legislation also establishes the “Human Rights Monitoring and Palestinian Child Victims of Israeli Military Detention Fund,” authorizing $19 million annually for non-governmental organization (NGO) monitoring of human rights abuses associated with Israel’s military detention of children. The Fund also authorizes qualified NGOs to provide physical, psychological, and emotional treatment and support for Palestinian child victims of Israeli military detention, abuse, and torture.

Previous Actions to Protect Palestinian Children’s’ Human Rights

The legislation follows letters led by Congresswoman McCollum in 2015 and 2016 to the Obama administration about the human rights of Palestinian children subjected to Israeli military detention.

In 2015, Congresswoman McCollum led 18 colleagues calling on Secretary of State John Kerry to “elevate the human rights of Palestinian children to a priority status in our bilateral relationship with the Government of Israel.” In 2016, Congresswoman McCollum led 19 colleagues urging President Barack Obama to appoint a Special Envoy for Palestinian Youth.

 

Organizations in support of H.R. 2407:

Adalah Justice Project
American Friends Service Committee
American Muslims for Palestine
American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee
Amnesty International USA
Arab American Institute
Center for Constitutional Rights
Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
Church of the Brethren
Churches for Middle East Peace
Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)
Defense for Children International - Palestine
Friends Committee on National Legislation
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA)
Friends of Sabeel North America (FOSNA)
Indiana Center for Middle East Peace
Institute for Policy Studies, New Internationalism Project
Israel Palestine Mission Network of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP)
Jewish Voice for Peace - Cleveland
Jewish Voice for Peace - Las Vegas
Mennonite Central Committee U.S. Washington Office
Methodist Federation for Social Action
Middle East Children's Alliance
National Council of Churches
On Earth Peace
Palestine Legal
Presbyterian Church (USA)
Project South
Quaker Palestine Israel Network
Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association (RRA)
Reformed Church in America
The Episcopal Church
The Red Nation
Tree of Life Educational Fund
United Church of Christ
United Church of Christ Palestine Israel Network
United Methodist General Board of Church and Society
United Methodists for Kairos Response (UMKR)
US Campaign for Palestinian Rights
Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF)