01 November 2023
GENEVA (1 November 2023) – Grave human rights violations against children are mounting by the minute in the Gaza Strip, and there are no winners in a war where thousands of children are killed. The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child issued the following statement today, expressing outrage at the profound suffering of children:
“The Committee on the Rights of the Child strongly condemns the escalation of attacks by Israel against civilian targets in the Gaza Strip, which had resulted in the deaths of more than 3,500 children since 7 October 2023. We also remain deeply concerned about children who continue to be held as hostages.
Armed conflict harms children first and foremost and has lifelong effects on their physical and mental health, their development and ultimately the enjoyment of all their rights. Children are also harmed when they survive but lose parents and other family members and friends and witness catastrophic events.
Despite the protection that should be provided to all children by international law, during the first month of this war, there have been devastating reports of acts that are forbidden by international humanitarian law, including maiming, injury, abduction, forcible displacement, deprivation of medical care, food, and water. According to article 38 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, States have an obligation to respect and ensure respect for the rules of international humanitarian law, and to take all feasible measures to ensure the protection and care of children affected by armed conflict.
The Committee calls for an end to the devastating harm being wreaked on children’s lives in the occupied Palestinian Territory. We add our voice to those calling for an immediate ceasefire. We urge the immediate release of child hostages, with their caregivers, as a first urgent phase towards the release of all hostages. We call on all parties to protect all children and provide all the necessary medical and protective support, including psychological support, to begin the long process of overcoming the consequences of these grave violations. We plead that all humanitarian convoys be permitted to enter the Gaza Strip and provide humanitarian aid to all children in need, as required by international law.
The ceasefire should be the beginning of discussions aimed at establishing a just and lasting peace in the region so that all children can fully enjoy all their rights and the conditions for their development that respond to their intrinsic dignity as human beings.”
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The Committee on the Rights of the Child monitors States parties’ adherence to the Convention on the Rights of the Child and its Optional Protocols on involvement of children in armed conflict, and on sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography. The Convention to date has 196 States parties. The Committee is made up of 18 members who are independent human rights experts drawn from around the world, who serve in their personal capacity and not as representatives of States parties.https://www.ohchr.org/en/press-releases/2023/11/un-child-rights-committee-condemns-killing-children-gaza-strip