Tuesday, 5 April 2016

Palestinian Children's Day

Today marks Palestinian Children's Day as called for by the late PLO chairman Yasser Arafat 11 years ago.
Not actually a day of celebration however but serves to mark the horrific treatment of Palestinian children by the occupying Israeli authorities. Daily children detained, by Israel forces isolated, threatened and terrorised, forced to admit to crimes that they never did. Many left traumatised, from which some never actually recover. 
In 1989 a UN Convention was made on the tights of the child. It stipulated that  children have the right to the best possible health, clean water and the right to play. "Children should not  be arrested, detained, imprisoned only as a last resort for the shortest time possible. They must be treated  with respect and care and kept in contact with their family." it read.
In 1990 Israel signed this convention, making it responsible  to guarantee these rights to Palestinian children in the occupied territories. Sadly since then this  UN Childrens rights declaration has been constantly violated and the  the rights of the child not recognised.
Children  under the age of 18 make up almost 2 million of  a total 4.29 million Palestinian population in the West Bank and the Gaza strip.
Israel currently holds around 6,900 Palestinians as political  prisoners, among them include  470 children. Most of the cases involving children, involve stone throwing, a minor action when one considers  that when these incidents do occur, it is against one of  the most powerful armies in the world, committing violent incursions into towns and villages. The crime of stone throwing could lead to an eventual prison sentence of twenty years imprisonment.
Also because of grinding poverty, and lack of education many children  forced to work on the street, as vendors or porters in busy towns. Economic stress on families means children are increasingly forced to work to earn extra income , often absent or dropping out of school as a result. Schooling and education badly effected remaining often incomplete or interrupted. In addition after recent conflicts many hospitals and clinics were destroyed thus depriving children of their right to health.
While children should enjoy the highest forms of protection according to human rights, international law and regulation, even in times of war or armed conflict - Israel  continues to violate the rights of Palestinian children everyday. Observance of Children's day in Palestine helps attract  international attention to the problems faced  by children currently living under occupation.  The vulnerabilty  of the Palestinian child is unfortunately. more acute than ever, continuing to face poverty, violence, and threats to basic rights . In Gaza , the main source of drinking water continues to be safe, as a result childrens health is put at risk.
This sad reality all  denies the Palestinian child the joy of living an innocent childhood .  The Palestinian child lives a life unlike any other child, symbolising the life of suffering under occupation, that  destroys their dreams as well as their well- being,  let us hope that in the future conditions of freedom and dignity are restored, that give opportunities to grow, in a healthy normal way in what has up to the present day been  denied to them, let's hope rain down.

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