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UN rights chief calls on Israel to release Palestinian children held in administrative detention

Israeli forces inspect the purse of a Palestinian woman with her children at the Damascus Gate of Jerusalem al-Quds on March 13, 2016. (Photo by AFP)

The United Nations rights chief has called on Israel to release the some 440 Palestinian children it is holding in so-called administrative detention.

"Israel should immediately charge, or release, all of them," said Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein on Monday, while noting that the Tel Aviv regime's administrative detention system is a "fundamental human rights violation."

 He added that based on international law the detention of minors should only be carried as a last resort.

"And whether for children or for adults, detention without trial, on evidence that is often kept secret, under often indefinitely renewable administrative detention orders, contravenes Israel's obligations under international law, and must come to an end," he added, while addressing a meeting focused on the recent surge of violence in the Gaza Strip.    

More than 7,000 Palestinians are reportedly held at Israeli jails. Hundreds of the inmates have apparently been incarcerated under the practice of administrative detention.

Some Palestinian prisoners have been held in administrative detention for up to 11 years.

Palestinian inmates regularly stage hunger strikes in protest at the administrative detention policy and their harsh prison conditions in Israeli jails.

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Zeid also slammed what he referred to as Israel's arbitrary detention and arrest of human rights activists and Israel's increased assaults against Palestinians.    

Nearly 150 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces since the “Great March of Return” began in the Gaza Strip on March 30.

A total of 14,811 Palestinians have also sustained injuries, of whom 366 are reportedly in critical condition.

The Gaza clashes reached their peak on May 14, on the eve of the 70th anniversary of Nakba Day (Day of Catastrophe), which coincided this year with the US embassy relocation from Tel Aviv to occupied East Jerusalem al-Quds.

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