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Children bear the brunt of Israel’s military occupation of the Palestinian territories. Since the outbreak of the Palestinian uprising in 2000, Israeli forces have killed more than 1,300 children. A further 8,000 have been detained and prosecuted in the Israeli military detention system.
Rifat Kassis, executive director of Defense for Children Palestine, will lead a speaking tour in the United States this fall to connect with American audiences and talk about grave violations against Palestinian children in the occupied territories. He will also provide analysis on the renewed political process and its potential impact on children’s lives.
Advocacy officers Ivan Karakashian and Bradley Parker will join him on tour, engaging communities and university students in advocating for policy changes to curb abuses.
Kassis co-founded Defense for Children Palestine in 1991. He is also the general commissioner for the Middle East and North Africa region at Defense for Children International, the global movement for children’s rights. From 2005 until 2012, he served as president of the international movement,
Defense for Children Palestine is an independent child rights organization dedicated to defending and promoting the rights of children living in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.
For over 20 years, we've investigated and exposed grave violations against children, held their abusers accountable, and pursued wide-ranging policy changes. We also provide direct legal aid to children in distress.
We are part of the global movement, Defense for Children International, founded in 1979 and based in Geneva. Its national sections and affiliated members span 50 countries.
Israel is the only country that routinely convicts children in military court proceedings that fall short of international fair trial standards.
Each month this year registered 216 Palestinian children on average in Israeli military custody. Nearly 75 percent of them endured ill-treatment or torture during arrest, interrogation and pretrial detention. Military court judges rarely excluded confessions obtained by coercion.
Kids caught in violence suffered serious, sometimes fatal, injuries; others found themselves used as human shields by the Israeli army.
Worsening unemployment and poverty across the West Bank and Gaza forced higher numbers of children into labor, placing many at risk of abuse and exploitation.
Children involved in criminal offences that fall under the jurisdiction of the Palestinian Authority contended with a punitive juvenile justice system out of line with international standards.
Palestinian adults working with children or in positions of authority over them remained largely unfamiliar with children’s rights.