Defence for Children International/Palestine Section

For immediate release

17 February, 2001

ref: 0003/01

Defence for Children International/Palestine Section meets with
U.N Human Rights Inquiry Commission

Yesterday, 16 February, a delegation from Defence for Children
International/Palestine Section (DCI/PS) met with the United Nations U.N
Human Rights Inquiry Commission currently visiting the West Bank and Gaza
Strip. The Commission was established following last year's visit of the UN
High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mary Robinson, and charged with
investigating Israeli practices during the Al Aqsa Intifada, on the basis
of the UN High Commission for Human Rights decision S-5/1 on 19 October,
2000. The Israeli government has refused to meet with, or discuss matters
with the Commission.

DCI/PS representatives presented a detailed report on Israeli human rights
violations during the Intifada, focusing in particular on violations of
Palestinian children's rights. DCI is currently preparing a detailed
Violations Report on Israeli practices during the year 2000 using a
rights-based approach centered around the 1989 UN Convention on the Rights
of the Child (CRC), to which Israel is a States Party.

Issues discussed during the meeting included the following:

· Israel's violation of the right to life: According to DCI/PS fieldwork,
100 Palestinian children have been killed since the Intifada began on 29
September. Since the start of the year 2001, six children have been killed.
DCI/PS explained that Israel has been conducting a policy of shoot-to-kill
or seriously injury against the Palestinian population, evidenced through
the fact that 72% of child deaths have resulted from shots fired to the
upper part of the body (head and chest). Over 2100 children have been
injured during the Intifada, while 236 were injured in the year 2000 prior
to the Intifada. Examining the statistics of injuries through violation
type, a sharp rise in injuries to the upper body has been noted by DCI/PS
field workers in comparison with injuries prior to the Intifada (19% prior
to Intifada compared to 31.7% during the Intifada). In addition, several
deaths have occurred as a result of the closure imposed on Palestinian
areas and at the hands of Israeli settlers.

· The effects of the Israeli closure on Palestinian life: The closure
imposed on the West Bank and Gaza Strip is a violation of international law
as it constitutes a form of collective punishment. The DCI/PS delegation
gave a number of examples of how the closure has effected Palestinian
children, including the example of 10 year old girl-child Alaa Osaama
Hamdan. Alaa died as a result of a severe lung infection on 13 October
after her family was prevented by the Israeli imposed closure from taking
her to the hospital in Nablus.

· The situation of Palestinian child prisoners in Israeli jails: DCI/PS'
lawyer reported on the extreme difficulties faced in providing legal
support to children detained by the Israeli military authorities during the
Intifada. Up until the end of December, the Israeli authorities had closed
the military courts dealing with these cases and were arbitrarily extending
detentions without the presence of legal defence. Large numbers of children
have been arrested including 40 from the village of Hossan near Hebron.
Many children are being subject to torture and several have required
medical treatment as a result of this torture, including 15-year old
Mohammed Zaour, currently in Telmond Prison, who was stripped naked and had
boiling water followed by freezing water repeatedly poured over his head.
Once the courts reopened, children have been given sentences 3-4 times the
length of those given prior to the Intifada. In addition, children have
been denied visits by lawyers and family members and have been incarcerated
with criminal prisoners in many situations.

DCI/PS also discussed the Israeli propaganda regarding the events of the
Intifada, in particular the claim that Palestinians were indoctrinating
children in a culture of violence. DCI pointed out that the violence
stemming from the Israeli occupation surrounded children everywhere during
their daily lives. The shelling of houses and schools, the continuing
violence of Israeli soldiers and settlers, as well as the large number of
people killed by Israeli occupation forces creates an environment that is
extremely detrimental to children's well-being. DCI has encountered
widespread evidence of damaging pyscho-social effects on children in its
work during the Intifada. The Israeli claim that Palestinians are to blame
is akin to blaming the victim and is a racist attitude stemming from an
occupier's mentality.

DCI/PS welcomes the investigation of the Commission and hopes that its
findings will contribute to ending the continuing violence of the Israeli
occupation and strengthen international efforts to protect the child
victims of this occupation.


Defence for Children International/Palestine Section
is an independent, Palestinian non-governmental
organization, established in 1992 to promote and
protect the rights of Palestinian children as articulated
in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child as well
as in other international instruments.

DCI/PS, P.O. Box 55201, Jerusalem
Tel:      +972 2 240 7530
Fax:      +972 2 240 7018
(Note: please try and use +970, if the above country code does not work)
Website: (click on 'new' for updated information)