Seeking peace. Striving for justice. Together.
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.
The Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the occupied Palestinian territory and the UN Special Committee on Israeli practices in the Occupied Territory express concern for Palestinian children detained by the Israeli military. A report issued earlier this year by UNICEF, Children in Israeli military detention: observations and recommendations also notes that "there appears to be a pattern of ill-treatment during the arrest, transfer and interrogation of child detainees."
Concerns have also been raised for Palestinian children held by the Palestinian Authority.
Defence for Children International Palestine makes the following observations about the situations Palestinian Children face:
- 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.
- 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 contend with a punitive juvenile justice system out of line with international standards.
Defence for Children International Palestine (DCIP) works on behalf of Palestinian children in relation to both the Israeli military and the Palestinian Authority. DCIP, an NGO dedicated to defending the human rights of Palestinian children living in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, seeks "a Palestinian community fit for all children."
DCIP staff members are currently on tour in the United States, sharing about their work. They met with the Israel-Palestine NGO Working Group at the UN on Friday. A few public events remain in New York and San Francisco. If you are not able to attend, their Web site is packed with information about the challenges Palestinian children face and the ways DCIP works to defend the human rights of those children.
Jesus said, ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of heaven belongs.’
The photo show Rifat Kassis (DCIP), Dennis Frado of Lutheran World Federation, and Brad Parker and Ivan Karakashian of DCIP.