Today 83 parliamentarians have sent an open letter to UNICEF in Jerusalem, calling on them to publicly report on the plight of Palestinian children. Signatories include Assistant Minister Mark Coulton, and a number of shadow Ministers.
“This day reminds us to stand in solidarity with peoples everywhere whose rights have been taken away from them,” said Professor Bassam Dally, Australian Palestine Advocacy Network Vice-President.
“Like children everywhere, Palestinian children have a right to live in a world where they are free to go to school and to play and to be safe. They deserve to have a childhood.”
“Five years ago UNICEF released a report about Palestinian children in Israeli military detention, finding “Ill-treatment of Palestinian children in the Israeli military detention system appears to be widespread, systematic and institutionalized”.
“Although this finding deeply shocked the international community, not a single recommendation has been substantively implemented, and the mistreatment of Palestinian children continues.
While Jerusalem has taken centre stage in global discussions, these MPs are demanding concrete action for Palestinian children, based on the recommendations of UNICEF, including the end to children being held in solitary confinement, the end to night arrests and children always being interviewed in the presence of a lawyer.
“This situation is simply untenable, and we are still waiting for the abuse of children to stop.
“We must immediately implement the measures to help ensure the most vulnerable are protected, and to hold perpetrators to account,” Professor Dally said.
Statement, list of signatories and photographs available at https://apan.org.au/unicef/