In a place where children are treated like adults, or even enemies, where they are imprisoned, injured and killed, child protection campaigns become a necessity. In order to protect children, the Palestinian Medical Relief Society has released a campaign to restore Palestinian childhood that has been choking under a 49 year old military occupation.
The conference, held in the PMRS headquarters in Ramallah, hosted the 12 year old ex prisoner Dima Al-Wawi, to tell her story that represents 422 other child prisoners.
Dima was arrested in February after she allegedly approached an Israeli settlement in the northern occupied West Bank with a knife. She was released after two months in prison, after an experience that made her grow out of her young age.
President of the PMRS Board, Dr. Mustafa Al-Barghouthi, said the campaign meant to stop the physical and psychological torture that Palestinian children face through the occupation, especially when detained, arrested, and imprisoned or interrogated under extensive pressure.
“Palestinian children are subjected to displacement, disposition, killing, torture, and illegal imprisonment, different kinds of terror acts. Our duty is to try in cooperation with every possible organization to protect our children.”
Haneen Amra from PMRS reiterated the need for children to be protected, since Dima is only one example of the suffering of hundreds of minors.
“Dima is just one of the many victims that are constantly attacked by Israeli military and occupation. We are here to raise awareness for a campaign to say that we need to do a lot more to protect our children.”
When asked about the legal steps that need to be taken to protect children, Dieter Muller from Medico International human rights organization, said that the next step is to enforce legal action to be taken against the illegal practices carried against children.
“The legal steps are very clear, the problem is the enforcement of their implementation. International Humanitarian Law and UN mandates about children rights are all in place, but they are not practically fulfilled. The main problem is to act properly, put pressure and make sure that child rights are really accomplished.”
According to statistics, within the past 16 years, over 2,000 Palestinian children have been killed and 12,000 detained. During the past ten months alone, 51 Palestinian children have been killed by Israeli Forces.
The numbers keep growing with the now half century old occupation that keeps engorging land, strangling peace and politicizing pure children.