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Committee on the Rights of the Child Report Reflects Issues Raised by NGO Joint Report on Israeli Implementation

23-05-2013 00:00

The Committee on the Rights of the Child (the Committee) has released the list of issues for review by Israel on the State’s implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC).
During Israel’s second periodic review, Al Mezan Center for Human Rights in conjunction with NGOs, Ensan Center for Democracy & Human Rights, Gaza Community Mental Health Programme, and the Independent Commission for Human Rights, submitted a parallel report to the Committee on Israel’s violations of CRC relating to children in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt).
The Committee has raised over 30 issues in their report, stating, inter alia, issues on health and sanitization, access to institutions and services, movement restrictions, and attacks on children.
The following are some of the critical issues noted in the Committee’s and the parallel report: Questions as to Israel’s accountability for the Operation Cast Lead in relation to allegations of violations of child rights.
Regarding violence against children in the West Bank, the reports highlight the frequency in settler attacks in addition to military attacks on children and schools.
Violence against children is cited as a barrier in access to education.
The restrictions on movement and access to services, noting interference with medical personnel and services, and citing the extensive network of checkpoints.
The issue of Israel’s rigid unilateral closure of Gaza is raised with particular concern for the delays in patient referrals for treatment outside of Gaza, as well as the critical shortage of essential medicines and medical supplies.
Israel’s violation of the CRC in its maintenance of policies and programmes that result in the demolition of Palestinian homes and properties; particularly the inability to access effective remedy by the victims, and barriers in (re)construction due to the denial of permits and building materials.
The parallel report stresses that in addition to the loss of life and injuries incurred, the Israeli military operations exacerbate the closure, and result in increased building of occupation infrastructure.
Information needed on measures taken to ensure child provision of safe and sufficient drinking water, adequate sanitation and appropriate hygiene facilities.
As the parallel report states, Gaza’s children in particular are denied access to clean water and a proper sewage system.
The policy of separation of Palestinian families, stemming from the severe restrictions on freedom of movement between Gaza and the West Bank, particularly noting East Jerusalem.
Israel ratified the CRC on 3 October 1991 along with both of the optional protocols – on children in armed conflict in 2005 and on sexual exploitation of children in 2008.
According to the UN Legal Council, Israel, as the occupying power in the oPt, retains jurisdiction over Palestinian children in both the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) and Gaza Strip.
[1] Yet, since ratification, Israel has rejected requests by the Committee for supplementary information on Palestinian children to Israel’s reports on CRC implementation.
[2] As raised by the Committee, Israeli violations of IHRL and IHL violations continue to occur on a large scale.
Restrictions due to the closure of the Gaza Strip and the occupation of the West Bank deny access to education, healthcare, and basic goods and services, while preventing family cohesion.
Most critically, home demolitions and attacks on residencies as they fail to respect the principles of IHL, gravely impact children’s lives, rights and well-being.
Yet access to justice for victims of such violations, including children, is continually blocked under Israel’s longstanding culture of impunity and lack of accountability.
As the occupying power, Israel is obliged to protect and support the rights of Palestinian children, and provide access to justice where protection falls short.
Lifting the closure of Gaza, ending the occupation of the West Bank, and removing the barriers in access to justice are crucial steps in ensuring the rights of Palestinian children as stipulated in the CRC.
At the 63rd Session of the Committee on the Rights of the Child taking place in Geneva this June, the Committee will address Israel regarding these and other child rights issues in Israel and the oPt.

[1] Committee on the Rights of the Child, Summary Record of the 829th Meeting: Consideration of Reports of States Parties, Initial Report of Israel, 31st session, UN document CRC/C/SR.
829, 2 October 2002, paras.
[2] United Nations Children’s Fund.
The Situation of Palestinian Children in The Occupied Palestinian Territory, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon: An Assessment Based on the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
June 2011.

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