World Children’s Day, PCHR Demands Protection for Palestinian Children
Date: 22 November 2021
Time: 13:00 GMT
November 20th marks World Children’s Day that was adopted by the United Nation; it is a universal day devoted by the international community to entrench promotion, respect and protection of child’s rights according to the 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child.
This occasion comes this year in difficult circumstances that aggravated the difficult conditions children endure in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt). Children form 45% of the Palestinian society; 42% in the West Bank and 48% in the Gaza Strip; they are affected by both the continued Israeli occupation, which violates their human rights, and by the Palestinian internal division that impeded all attempts to enact laws that are more equitable to them.
The Israeli occupation commits multi-layered violated against children, either by directly harming them like what happened in the Israeli aggression on the Gaza Strip in May 2021 when 59 children were killed and 632 were wounded while 8 children were killed in the West Bank since the beginning of the year. Also, children face arrests as there are 200 children arrested in the Israeli prisons in 2021. In addition, children suffer from the Israeli tightened restrictions on the freedom of movement due to the permanent and temporary checkpoints and the settlers’ attacks against civilians under IOF’s protection.
The Palestinian internal division is one of the main reasons behind the outgrowing suffering of the Palestinian child as the disruption of the Palestinian Legislative Council was a great obstacle in the way of enacting laws that are more equitable to children, particularly the victims of domestic violence.
In 2020, PCHR documented cases of domestic violence, where children were the victims; the latest of which was the rape of a 5-year-old girl from Rafah by her uncle. Children suffer from violence that has lately increased due to the outbreak of coronavirus, which has negatively affected the economic, social, and living conditions.
A study published by the Ministry of Women’s Affairs shows that 270,000 children were subject to different forms of mental, physical, and verbal violence while 10% of female children were exposed to cyber violence
The deterioration of economic and social conditions increased child labor to 3% according to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics: 4% in the West Bank and 1% in the Gaza Strip.
As part of its concern of further deterioration of children’s conditions, PCHR Calls upon:
- The international community, by virtue of their contractual obligations, to hold the Israeli occupation responsible and pressure it to end the closure and respect the Palestinian child’s rights in accordance with international conventions, particularly the 1948 Fourth Geneva Convention.
- The Palestinian government to establish clear, fair, impartial, and transparent mechanisms to protect children in the oPt, including establishing a safe shelter for children exposed to violence.
- The Palestinian President to adopt the Domestic Violence Protection Bill into law and to harmonize domestic laws with international conventions, in particular the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
- The police and public prosecution to exert more efforts for the prosecution of those committing domestic violence crimes and take all the necessary legal proceedings against them regardless of any excuses or justifications.
- The governmental bodies to reconsider the policies taken over the years pertaining to children and to take lessons learned from the current experience that has led to this catastrophic situation, which requires governmental bodies’ to mainstream children’s rights across their policies.
- The civil society and human rights organizations to work continuously on raising the awareness of the Palestinian society on the forms of violence children are exposed to and the mechanisms to end it.