The agency has called for Amal Nakhleh’s release for “urgent humanitarian reasons”.
The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) has called for the “immediate release” of detained Palestinian child Amal Muammar Nakhleh, 17 years-old, from the Jalazone camp, north of Ramallah. Nakhleh, held in an Israeli occupation prison, suffers from “critical health condition.”
In a statement published today, UNRWA reports that Nakhleh has suffered from a serious condition since childhood. The condition, myasthenia gravis, an autoimmune disease, requires continuous monitoring and medical care.
In its statement, UNRWA reported that “a few months after his arrest, Nakhleh underwent surgery to remove a cancerous tumor”, and noted that, “due to his health condition, Nakhleh is unable to receive the Coronavirus vaccine; and he must take immunosuppressants, meaning that his life would be at risk if he were to catch Covid-19.”
UNRWA quoted Nakhleh’s family as saying that he now has difficulty speaking and breathing. His family noticed his worsened state “during a military court hearing that took place over the past few days, one of the few times that Amal’s family was able to see him.”
“As a party to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, Israel must ensure that the arrest and detention or imprisonment of any child must be in accordance with the law, and that such measures should only be used as a last resort and for the shortest possible time”, UNRWA stated.
The Convention guarantees that “every child deprived of liberty shall be treated with humanity and respect for the inherent dignity of the human person, and in a manner which takes into account the needs of persons of his or her age”, and that every child “deprived of his or her liberty shall have the right to prompt access to legal and other appropriate assistance, as well as the right to challenge the legality of the deprivation of his or her liberty before a court or other competent, independent and impartial authority, and to a prompt decision on any such action.”
UNRWA has called for the “immediate release of Amal Nakhleh for urgent humanitarian reasons”, and expressed it concern “over the continued, arbitrary detention of Palestinian minors.”
The Israeli occupation authorities arrested Amal Nakhleh on 21 January 2021. In May 2021 his detention was extended for four months, and again in September for the same period. When his detention ends on 18 January 2022, he will have spent a full year in prison, where he will have turned 18.
Throughout 2021, Israeli occupation forces made 1266 arrests of minors.
According to Palestinian human rights organisations, Israeli authorities increasingly targeted Palestinian children with arrest and abuse in 2021, which saw over a 100 percent increase of such arrests compared with 2020.