Violations of Children's Rights 

Palestinian children are the most tragic victims of the Israeli occupation policy: Their collective childhood is stolen as they are subjected to traumatic incidents which leave mental as well as physical wounds they will carry for the rest of their lives. On an almost daily basis Palestinian children are subjected to humiliating treatment at checkpoints, bombardment from Apache helicopters and F16 fighters and shelling from tanks. Furthermore, they are often prevented from reaching their schools or from going to hospitals due to the internal closures. In more severe - but not rare - cases children experience loss of their homes when Israeli bulldozers destroy them as an act of collective punishment for so-called "security reasons". Closure has prevented Palestinian men from working in Israel; the resulting high unemployment rate has had a severe impact on the living standard of children – according to a survey released in August 2002 by USAID and Care International 19.7% of all Palestinian children between 6-59 months suffer from anemia, 9.3% of the total population suffer from malnutrition.

 

Palestinian children play in Khan Younis refugee camp    Photo: PCHR field worker

The World Bank estimated in February 2002 – before the Israeli Operation Defensive Shield and Operation Determined Path and the following periods of closures and curfews - that 84.6% of Gazan families and 57.7% of West Bank families live below the international recognised poverty line at 2 dollars per day.  This dire economic situation - and in cases where the father is either dead or disabled - often forces children to start working from a young age in order to help support the family.

 

The impact on the mental health of Palestinian children has been catastrophic. A 2001-survey conducted by Gaza Community Mental Health Programme on children living close to major checkpoints in Khan Younis and Rafah in Southern Gaza shows that 54.6% of the children show symptoms of severe Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). More than 50% had seen dead or injured people – in 23% of the cases the person was a family member.

 

The Israeli government's actions that have caused such trauma constitute violations of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child as well as grave breaches - namely war crimes - of the Fourth Geneva Convention. The most central sentence in the conventions is "the right to life" - a right that is violated far too often by the Israeli army that uses not only rubber bullets but also live ammunition and tear gas against stone throwing children. 

 

The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights has collected material on the issue “Violation of Children’s Rights” in order to give interested readers an adequate picture of the impact of the Israeli occupation policy on Palestinian children.  

 

Convention on the Rights of the Child

 

Statistics (Graphs soon to come)

 

PCHR Press Releases

 

PCHR Images: Gazan Children's Daily Life

 

Articles and Feature Stories in the International Media

 

External Material