Defence for Children International statement on children’s rights in Palestine

Defence for Children International statement on children’s rights in Palestine

Press Release

Geneva, Switzerland

20 November 2023 World Children’s Day


On the occasion of the World Children’s Day on 20 November 2023;

On the occasion of the prestigious Rafto Prize 2023 for human rights defenders being awarded on 12 November 2023 to Defence for Children International-Palestine (DCI-P) for their persistent work to defend and promote the rights of children living in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt);

On the occasion of the forthcoming 35th anniversary of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, adopted at the UN General Assembly in New York on 20 November 1989; and

On the occasion of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child’s upcoming review of Israel;


Defence for Children International (DCI) stands with all children whose rights are violated and who are affected by armed conflict in the occupied Palestinian territory. DCI stands in solidarity with its member organisation Defence for Children International – Palestine (DCI-P) for its work over the last three decades to defend and promote the rights of Palestinian children.

DCI calls for:

  1. An immediate and permanent ceasefire, to be monitored by an independent international body.
  2. An immediate end to violations of international humanitarian law and human rights law, including children’s rights violations. All those responsible for the indiscriminate attacks and other war crimes against civilians, including children, must be held criminally accountable and seen to be held accountable.
  3. A new accountability system to be put in place to end impunity for these crimes and to prevent future atrocities.
  4. Immediate humanitarian assistance for all internally displaced civilians, with special attention to the specific rights and needs of children.
  5. The immediate release of all civilian hostages taken by Hamas.
  6. The immediate release of all Palestinian civilians, including children, arbitrarily detained by Israel.
  7. The mobilisation of all relevant international human rights procedures and bodies. DCI calls for a Special Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council to provide the UN Independent International Commission of Inquiry (COI) on the occupied Palestinian territory including East Jerusalem with enhanced resource and capacity to effectively carry out and in-depth, war crime-focused investigation into the current situation, to include a special focus on children.
  8. Urgent humanitarian aid to ensure adequate shelter, food, water, and protection – the means of life. The provision of supports (machinery and specialised disaster recovery teams) to recover the bodies of men, women, and children under the rubble in Gaza, to identify the remains and to ensure they are afforded a dignified burial.
  9. All parties, and the international community, must step up and commit to reparations and recovery for all those affected, including children. This assistance should extend beyond immediate necessities like reconstruction, encompassing compensation and the necessary urgent supports to start processing and mitigating the harm inflicted on individuals, including the enduring effects of intergenerational trauma.
  10. Special protection and care to be assured for the orphaned and/or wounded children with no surviving family.
  11. A renewed commitment by all parties and the international community, including individual states and regional organisations, to put an end to the illegal occupation of the Palestinian territory, and respect for the Palestinians’ right to self-determination by recognition of the State of Palestine.
  12. The tolerance or even encouragement of war crimes and violations of International Humanitarian Law, (including through the sale of arms or military aid) to be acknowledged as a collective and indelible stain on the international community.
  13. The States which declare themselves to be steadfast partners or allies of Israel, irrespective of violations of children’s rights, war crimes and crimes against humanity, to hold Israel to the same standards as all other nations and themselves to be held accountable for their participation in war crimes, violations of human rights and genocide.

Download the press release here.

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