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UN denounces raid on West Bank NGO, urge Israel to probe large number of child killings

14th Aug 2021
UN denounces raid on West Bank NGO, urge Israel to probe large number of child killings

By Peter Kenny

 

GENEVA (AA): UN human rights experts Friday called on the Israeli government to immediately return confidential documents and office equipment its military seized from the offices of an NGO fighting for children’s rights in the occupied West Bank.

“We are deeply concerned by the Israeli military’s interference with the human rights work of a well-known and well-regarded NGO,” said the experts.

Computers, hard drives, binders, and other materials were taken from the offices of the Defense for Children International-Palestine (DCIP) in Al-Bireh during a nighttime raid at the end of July.

The experts are Michael Lynk, special rapporteur on human rights in the Palestinian territory; Irene Khan, special rapporteur on the right to freedom of expression; Clement Nyaletsossi Voule, special rapporteur on peaceful assembly; and Mary Lawlor, special rapporteur on human rights defenders.

“The indispensable work of Palestinian, Israeli, and international civil society organizations has provided a measure of much-needed accountability in documenting and scrutinizing the dispiriting human rights trends in the occupied Palestinian territory,” the experts said.

– Reporting killings of children

They said in recent years, the children’s rights group had reliably reported on patterns of arrests, maiming, and killings of Palestinian children by the Israeli military in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem and Gaza.

The silencing or hindering of these activities violates the fundamental human rights of expression and association, which Israel has committed to uphold by ratifying two 1966 international covenants, they said.

From the start of this year until the end of July, the experts said Israeli military forces had killed 11 Palestinian children in the West Bank.

The toll is more than the recorded deaths of Palestinian children under the occupation in all of 2020.

As well, a reported 67 Palestinian children were killed in Gaza during the violence of May 2021.

“All civilian lives under occupation are protected under international law. This is particularly true for the rights of children,” the experts said.

“We are aware of the long-standing criticisms of the lack of transparent and impartial investigations in apparent violations of Palestinian human rights by the Israeli military,” said the experts.

For that reason, they called on Israel’s government to work with the international community to establish an impartial body to conduct transparent, public investigations into these deaths consistent with international legal standards.

[Photo: Family of 12 year old Palestinian Mohammad al-Alaami grieve  – he was shot by Israeli soldiers near the West Bank town of Beit Ummar in Hebron, West Bank on July 29, 2021. Photographer: Mamoun Wazwaz/ AA]

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