The Aotearoa New Zealand Association of Social Workers (ANZASW) condemns in the strongest terms the arrest of Palestinian social worker and activist Munther Amira at a peaceful demonstration on the 27th of December 2017. Amira was protesting the imprisonment of Ahed Tamimi, a child. He was also protesting against the detention of all Palestinian child prisoners.
The right to peaceful assembly and protest is protected under Article 20 of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. No one should be subject to arbitrary arrest when exercising this right.
ANZASW stands with social workers globally, including in Israel and the Palestinian territories, who protest mistreatment of children.
The arrest and detention of Mr Amira should be a cause of acute concern to the worldwide community of social workers. ANZASW strongly aligns itself with the statement made by the International Federation of Social Workers Human Rights Commission which calls for the immediate release of Mr Amira.
As the statement noted, Mr Amira was “standing up for basic social work principles” by protesting the detention of Ahed Tamimi and other child prisoners by Israeli security forces. The routine detention of Palestinian children from the occupied territories in Israeli jails must be highlighted as cruel and unnecessary. This action by Israel is eminently worthy of criticism; as IFSW have also pointed out, even if children are believed to have broken the law when they are apprehended, they should receive treatment which is “age-appropriate” and should not be treated as adults, in keeping with the requirements of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
ANZASW strongly condemns the arrest and detention of 16-year old activist Ahed Tamimi in a raid on her home in Nabi Saleh late last month. According to her parents, security forces arresting Ms Tamimi did not state what offence she was alleged to have committed and gave no reason for the early morning raid. A spokesperson for the Israeli Defence Forces later revealed that Ms Tamimi had been arrested on suspicion of “assaulting a soldier and an IDF officer.”
ANZASW is pleased to join with the British Association of Social Workers (BASW) in calling on our colleagues in the Israeli Union of Social Workers to be more vocal in their criticism of the mistreatment of children in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, especially where such action is in breach of basic principles of human rights, justice and UN Conventions.