The International Day in Support of Victims of Torture
Under the auspices and participation of the Minister of Detainees and Ex-detainees H.E. Mr. Issa Qaraqe', the East Jerusalem YMCA – Rehabilitation Program and Save the Children organized a special event marking “The International Day in Support of Victims of Torture" on Wednesday 4th of July 2012 at the EJ-YMCA premises in Beit Sahour.
The event was organized as part of the “Post-trauma Rehabilitation of Palestinian Ex-detainee Children” Program which is funded by the European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection Department (ECHO). It aimed at raising public awareness of the impact of torture against children in detention, the legal framework and the social and emotional difficulties that face them afterwards.
The Programme, which commenced on March 2009, provides services to around 360 Children every year. It offers individual and group counseling for children in addition to educational and vocational counseling and ventilation activities. The Programme also offers them vocational assessment and assists them to get vocational training and remedial education accordingly. Families of children ex-detainees also receive psycho-social support through group and family intervention schemes.
Mr. Nader Abu Amsha, Director of the Rehabilitation Program at EJ-YMCA, welcomed the audience and explained the different services provided through the Program. H.E. Mr. Issa Qaraqe' then described Israel's illegal policy in destroying the youth generation of Palestine through taking children into detention and torturing them both physically and psychologically. Director of Defence for Children International-Palestine Section, Mr. Rifat Kassiss, explained the legal framework of child detention and showed how such practices constitute grave violations to children’s rights as stipulated by the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Mr. Ayed Abu Kteish, from DCI-Palestine presented their report issued in April 2012, titled "Bound, Blindfolded, and Convicted: Children held in military detention" while Ms. Mona Zaghrout from the EJ-YMCA presented the report they issued in cooperation with Save the Children Sweden in 2012 on "The Impact of Child Detention: Occupied Palestinian Territories". A group of ex-detainee children and their parents shared their experience with the attendants and the event was then concluded by a theatrical play performed by Al-Hara Theatre entitled "The Trap" which demonstrates a model of Israeli intelligence operations to turn Palestinian children into collaborators who betray their people, contradicting all human values, international laws and conventions. The play was produced in cooperation with DCI-Palestine section.