DCI/PS invited to address the 43rd Session of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child

On 29 September 2006, a delegation from DCI/PS met with the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child in Geneva under exceptional circumstances. DCI/PS was invited to address the Committee during its forty third session to discuss the violation of Palestinian children's rights by Israel outside of Israel's reporting schedule to the CRC. DCI was allowed a special audience with the CRC in light of the urgent situation facing Palestinian children as a result of Israel's on-going military campaign.

In its oral statement, DCI/PS focused mainly on the situation for children in Gaza under the current Israeli offensive, "Operation Summer Rain", which began on 25 June 2006.

The statement highlighted the notable trend arising from the data systematically tracked by DCI/PS suggesting that if the death rate among Palestinian children continues to rise on its current trajectory, 2006 risks being the bloodiest year for Palestinian children since the beginning of the Israeli Occupation in 1967. Significantly, DCI/PS fieldwork also indicates that in the overwhelming majority of cases, Palestinian children were killed while not posing a threat in any way to the security of Israeli soldiers or civilians.

In addition to the acute situation in Gaza, Israel has not heeded any of the recommendations laid out by the Committee on the Rights of the Child concerning Israel's implementation of the rights of Palestinian children under its jurisdiction in its concluding observations following Israel's initial report to the Committee in 2002. Israel has continued the following systematic practices in violation of its international human rights and/or humanitarian law obligations throughout the OPT (non exhaustive):

  • Extrajudicial executions, resulting in the killing of child bystanders;
  • Employment of disproportionate force against children;
  • Arrest of hundreds of children without the most basic due process guarantees;
  • Demolition of homes;
  • Destruction of civilian infrastructure;
  • Creation of restrictions to mobility which hinder the realization of children’s rights from access to education, to humanitarian aid;
  • Humiliation of children and their families; and
  • Construction of the West Bank separation wall despite the conclusions of the International Court of Justice Advisory Opinion.

Furthermore, the culture of impunity through governmental inaction to launch appropriately constituted criminal investigations for unlawful conduct by Israeli military/security personnel has been further bolstered by the amendment of the 1952 Israeli Civil Wrongs (Liability of the State) Law which prevents Palestinians from seeking civil compensation for damages to life and property

Despite the 6 July resolution of the UN Human Rights Council to dispatch Prof. John Dugard, UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, to the OPT on an urgent fact-finding mission, Israel has refused permission for this visit.

In light of this refusal, DCI/PS called on the Committee on the Rights of the Child to conduct a country visit to OPT to assess violations of the rights of Palestinian children by Israel. Such a mission would ensure that the plight of Palestinian children is not overlooked.

Document Type: Press Release
Document Sources: Defence for Children International
Subject: Children, Gaza Strip, Human rights and international humanitarian law
Publication Date: 29/09/2006