We need increased protection and accountability for Palestinian children

The Defence for Children International Movement calls for increased protection and accountability for Palestinian children

The Defence for Children International (DCI) Movement condemns all violence against children. Since 10th May 2021, at least 230 Palestinians in Gaza and West Bank have been killed, including more than 67 children in Gaza and 3 children in the West Bank, according to Defence for Children-Palestine’s (DCI-P) documentation. And more than 8,130 Palestinians were injured, including 540 children in Gaza and 210 children in the West Bank, according to the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).

Over 77,000 internally displaced persons have sought protection in 58 UNRWA schools across the Gaza Strip. Following the announcement of the ceasefire, the vast majority are returning home, but this is not the case for approximately 1000 persons whose houses were destroyed or severely damaged, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) latest report on the 21st of May 2021.

Israeli forces targeted essential infrastructure, including but not limited to buildings, housing, and commercial units as well as roads leading to two main hospitals in the Gaza Strip, resulting in an additional decline in the public’s access to essential services, according to OCHA (21st May 2021).
Since 2007, Gaza has been under blockade by the Israeli authorities, with sanctions against the people living in Gaza, restriction of movement, and a land, air and sea blockage. Moreover, it led to the deterioration of humanitarian conditions by limiting access to food, medicine, and fuel, which has critically impacted the lives of civilians over the past 14 years.

The latest attacks against the Palestinian population living in the West Bank and Gaza follow weeks of mounting tension as Israeli settlers, with Israeli government support, sought to expel Palestinians from the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood in occupied East Jerusalem. Palestinian-led protests against these planned expulsions have been met with state-sanctioned violence as Israeli police and paramilitary border police use excessive and disproportionate force against Palestinian protesters.

Repeated Israeli military offensives and Israel’s complete disregard for international law have thwarted any meaningful efforts toward implementing comprehensive protections for Palestinian children. The international community must demand an end to Israel’s illegal military assaults and systemic impunity by investigating allegations of war crimes and holding the perpetrators accountable.

Even though the ceasefire started at 2:00 AM Friday the 21st of May 2021, it does not mean that the blockade on Gaza has been lifted, nor does it mean that the violations against protesters in occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank have stopped. Therefore, Defence for Children International urges concerted efforts to be made to put an end to this vicious circle of Israeli violations of human rights.

To end the systemic impunity and to increase protection for children, Defence for Children International urges all members of the Human Rights Council and the Security Council, and all UN Member States:

• To take urgent action to ensure accountability for violations by supporting efforts by the International Criminal Court to hold perpetrators accountable and by carrying out obligations under the Geneva Conventions or Rome Statute to exercise criminal jurisdiction and arrest persons alleged to have committed, or who have ordered to commit international crimes;

• To demand that Israel stops its apartheid system and its military attacks against Palestinian civilians in Gaza and West Bank;

• To demand that Israel ends its prolonged military occupation of Palestinian Territories, and its 14-year siege on the Gaza Strip, a form of collective punishment prohibited under international law;

• To demand that the United Nations and International Civil Society Organisations take immediate actions to provide shelter, assistance and trauma care including intensified psychosocial support for children and their families affected by the Israeli assaults on Gaza.


For more information:

Khaled Quzmar, +970 569 469 383, khaled.quzmar@dcips.org

Alex Kamarotos, +336 07 02 86 41 or +41 76 625 82 44, director@defenceforchildren.org

Twitter: @DCIsecretariat, @DCIdirector, @DCIPalestine

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