View of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva during a session in May 2013. Photo credit: UN Photo/Jean-Marc Ferré
Ramallah, March 23, 2015–Today, in a statement delivered to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, Defence for Children International Palestine (DCIP) called on UN member states to challenge systemic impunity for violations of Palestinian children’s rights by Israeli forces.
A DCIP representative presented an oral statement at the Human Rights Council’s twenty-eighth regular session during an interactive dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the Occupied Palestinian Territory, Mr. Makarim Wibisono.
Calling for justice and accountability, the statement noted that “repeated Israeli military offensives and prolonged military occupation combined with Israel’s complete disregard for international law has hindered any meaningful efforts toward implementing comprehensive protections for Palestinian children.”
Drawing attention to Israeli attacks on Gaza in July and August 2014, which killed over 500 Palestinian children, DCIP highlighted that it “was the sixth Israeli military offensive in the past eight years, and Palestinian children have come of age witnessing death and have been suffocated by a life under siege.”
In a context where systemic impunity is the status quo, DCIP and partners urged all members of the Human Rights Council to demand that Israel end its prolonged military occupation of Palestinians living in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, as well as its eight-year siege on the Gaza Strip, a form of collective punishment prohibited under international law.
Recognizing that “justice and accountability is persistently denied to Palestinian children,” DCIP called on states to urge the Secretary-General to list Israel’s armed forces in his annual report on children and armed conflict for committing grave violations against children during armed conflict, specifically killing and maiming and attacks on schools.
Partners joining the statement included several other Palestinian human rights organizations, specifically Al-Haq, Al-Mezan Center for Human Rights, and Adalah: The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel.
The UN Human Rights Council is responsible for the promotion and protection of all human rights and is made up of 47 UN member states. The Council meets three times per year and regularly addresses the situation of Palestinian children living in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.
The statement followed the presentation of Mr. Wibisono’s annual report to the Council, which focused on grave violations of Palestinian children’s rights due to prolonged Israeli military occupation and repeated military offensives. His report includes incidents involving the killing and maiming of Palestinian children by Israeli forces, and widespread and systematic ill-treatment and torture of Palestinian child detainees in the Israeli military detention system.
In July 2014, the Council passed a resolution establishing the Independent Commission of Inquiry on the 2014 Gaza Conflict to investigate alleged violations of international law during Israel’s July-August military offensive.
To read the full statement, click here.