- Published on Wednesday, 18 July 2012 08:56
On July 16 2012, Al Mezan Center for Human Rights, Ensan Center for Democracy & Human Rights, Gaza Community Mental Health Programme, and the Independent Commission for Human Rights issued its Alternative Report for Consideration Regarding Israel's Second Periodic Report to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child.
As Israel is due to provide its own state report to the Committee on the Rights of the Child (the committee which oversees states' implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, 1989 – the CRC) the purpose of this report is to alert the Committee to Israel's lack of implementation of the CRC in the occupied Palestinian territory. As Israel continues to occupy the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem, under international law it is the duty bearer and has obligations to protect children under the CRC. As this report shows, Israel has failed to do this.
The report predominantly explores incidents and policies which result in egregious violations of human rights and Israel's lack of policies to protect children in the Gaza Strip. Data and information on killings, injuries, children in detention, settler violence are not included in this report as they are included in an Alternative Report submitted by Defence for Children Palestine Section (available for download here).
This report first examines Israel's failure to implement the CRC in the oPt, the lack of laws in the oPt which are in line with international child rights standards as well as the inability to provide sufficient services for children in many parts of the oPt. It then covers the following three main topics which have lead to violations of children's rights: the closure on the Gaza Strip; Restrictions on movements and residency in the West Bank and Gaza Strip; and Operation Cast Lead, house demolitions, other military attacks. The report looks at the effects of these on, among others, children's right to life, education, health, and family life. The final section, special protection measures examines child trafficking, child labour and the specific situation of Palestinian refugees and IDPs.
The report concludes with the following recommendations:
1. Israel should be held fully accountable and responsible for ensuring the application of the CRC within all areas of the OPT. The State of Israel should report on the actions they have taken to ensure the implementation of the CRC and violations that they have been responsible for against Palestinian children residing within all regions of the OPT.
2. Israel should be eliminate the application of Israeli military orders against Palestinian children and should apply the CRC as a guide to ensuring Palestinian children's rights are upheld. Discriminatory laws that differentially apply rulings against Palestinian children compared to Israeli children should be revoked.
3. A full investigation should be undertaken of the over 1000 Palestinian children who have been killed by Israeli military action and settler violence and perpetrators of these violations should be held accountable.
4. Israel should commit to the no-entry, non-use, non-targeting, and no destruction of education and health-related infrastructure at any time. This should be formally adopted and endorsed by Israeli military and civil courts.
5. The immediate lifting of the closure and embargo should be implemented by Israel.
6. All goods, supplies, services and persons required to ensure children's access to health, medical care, education, protection, and civil rights should be given top priority and all resources needed to safeguard children's rights to survival, development and their best interests should be required of Israel. This will require an immediate removal of closures and checkpoints within the West Bank and the elimination of the embargo of goods on Gaza
7. Israel's should be required to facilitate family reunification for all Palestinians within the OPT. This includes East Jerusalem where thousands of Palestinian children are currently residing with one or both parents, but do not have residency rights.
8. Israel should facilitate the economic recovery of the Gaza Strip by allowing the export and import of all goods, services and people required to rebuild and reconstitute a vibrant private sector within Gaza in order to alleviate the poverty, unemployment and high dependency upon humanitarian aid.
9. Displacement and home and livelihood demolitions are on the rise and this demands an international inquiry into the continuing violations against Palestinian children that deprive them of their right to live with dignity and with a decent standard of living in their own country and land. Displacement policies, specifically in East Jerusalem, are tantamount to forced population transfer and an international inquiry should be established to determine if this is in violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention and a possible war crime.
10. Israel must be called upon to immediately decease from its illegal policies of house demolitions, destruction of Palestinian property, land expropriation, failure to provide building permits and other acts which result in families being displaced and unable to live in adequate housing and living conditions.
11. Immediate action should be taken by Israel to coordinate special protection measures for Palestinian children who are illegally transported into or out of the West Bank and/or Gaza for purposes of child labour, exploitation, and child trafficking with the PNA. A system should be set up to ensure that any child who is exploited is properly safeguarded and returned to the OPT and that the Ministry of Social Affairs is properly informed and follows up with these children.
12. The prolonged occupation is detrimental the health, well being and development of Palestinian children. An end to the occupation should be sought by all parties.
Read the text of the CRC here
Download the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child's Concluding Observations (Israel) (2002) here