Skip to main content

UN calls on Israel to release Palestinian children from jails amid coronavirus

Three UN officials urge Israeli authorities to free detained Palestinian children to protect them from COVID-19.

Three United Nations officials have called on Israel’s government to release imprisoned Palestinian children amid the global coronavirus pandemic.

Some 194 children are currently in detention in Israeli jails, the officials said in a statement released by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs today.

Most of the children are being held in pretrial detention, according to the UN officials, even though legal proceedings have paused due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Children in detention face heightened risk of contracting COVID-19, with physical distancing and other preventive measures often absent or difficult to achieve,” the statement read.

“Moreover, since the start of the COVID-19 crisis in Israel, legal proceedings are on hold, almost all prison visits are cancelled, and children are denied in-person access to their families and their lawyers.”

The statement was released jointly by the UN humanitarian coordinator for the occupied Palestinian territory, Jamie McGoldrick, UNICEF’s special representative in Palestine, Genevieve Boutin, and the head of the UN human rights office in the occupied Palestinian territory, James Heenan.

The 1989 international Convention on the Rights of the Child says that imprisonment of children must be “a measure of last resort and for the shortest appropriate period of time.” Israel ratified the convention in 1991 but has faced UN criticism on its implementation in the past.

“The best way to uphold the rights of detained children amidst a dangerous pandemic, in any country, is to release them from detention and to put a moratorium on new admissions into detention facilities,” today’s UN statement read.

“We call on the Israeli and Palestinian authorities to do so immediately.”

Join hundreds of Middle East professionals with Al-Monitor PRO.

Business and policy professionals use PRO to monitor the regional economy and improve their reports, memos and presentations. Try it for free and cancel anytime.


The Middle East's Best Newsletters

Join over 50,000 readers who access our journalists dedicated newsletters, covering the top political, security, business and tech issues across the region each week.
Delivered straight to your inbox.


What's included:
Our Expertise

Free newsletters available:

  • The Takeaway & Week in Review
  • Middle East Minute (AM)
  • Daily Briefing (PM)
  • Business & Tech Briefing
  • Security Briefing
  • Gulf Briefing
  • Israel Briefing
  • Palestine Briefing
  • Turkey Briefing
  • Iraq Briefing

Premium Membership

Join the Middle East's most notable experts for premium memos, trend reports, live video Q&A, and intimate in-person events, each detailing exclusive insights on business and geopolitical trends shaping the region.

$25.00 / month
billed annually

Become Member Start with 1-week free trial

We also offer team plans. Please send an email to and we'll onboard your team.

What's included:
Our Expertise AI-driven

Memos - premium analytical writing: actionable insights on markets and geopolitics.

Live Video Q&A - Hear from our top journalists and regional experts.

Special Events - Intimate in-person events with business & political VIPs.

Trend Reports - Deep dive analysis on market updates.

All premium Industry Newsletters - Monitor the Middle East's most important industries. Prioritize your target industries for weekly review:

  • Capital Markets & Private Equity
  • Venture Capital & Startups
  • Green Energy
  • Supply Chain
  • Sustainable Development
  • Leading Edge Technology
  • Oil & Gas
  • Real Estate & Construction
  • Banking

Start your PRO membership today.

Join the Middle East's top business and policy professionals to access exclusive PRO insights today.

Join Al-Monitor PRO Start with 1-week free trial