Published: 2018-04-04 17:58
Last Updated: 2018-04-05 10:29
On Palestinian Children Day, it is vital to draw attention to the ways in which children in the occupied territories are denied their right to experience a fulfilling childhood.
The day is observed on April 5, and differs from International Children’s Day as it is not a celebration of innocence but rather a reminder for how much work is needed to provide the basic human needs to the children of Palestine.
According to statistics released by Addameer, the Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association, Israel is currently keeping 356 Palestinian minors in Ofer and Megiddo prisons.
The most common offense committed by the minors is rock-pelting for which they can be charged to up to 20 years in jail. Despite their age, they are routinely subjected to verbal and physical abuse and times denied their right to counsel and meeting with their families.
Despite recommendations made by UN CAT (Committee Against Torture) in 2009 for interrogations to be recorded such provisions have not been implemented in Israel and courts have gone as far as trialing minors behind closed doors.
In response to Ahed Tamimi’s closed trial in March, Britain’s Minister for the Middle East released a statement in which he claimed her conviction and sentencing was “emblematic of how the unresolved conflict is blighting the lives of a new generation, who should be growing up together in peace, but continue to be divided”.
He continued to say that the treatment of Palestinian children in Israeli military detention remains a human rights concern.
The Palestinian Children Day aims to highlight the difference between Palestinian children and their peers as their vulnerability is ignored by Israeli forces on a daily basis. It aims to attract the world’s attention to the challenges they face as their rights to safety and education are chipped away.