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Statement by the Committee on the Rights of the Child on the impact of the situation in the occupied Gaza Strip

GENEVA (24 July 2014) – The United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child expresses its deep dismay at the devastating and lasting impact of the Israeli military operation “Protective Edge” on Gaza strip, which has resulted in the deaths of more than 600 Palestinians, including at least 147 children, as deplored in the statement delivered to the Special Session of the Human Rights Council by Ms. Navi Pillay, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights on 23 July 2014.

Many other children in Gaza have been injured, lost parents or other loved ones, and have been left deeply traumatized.

Destruction of homes, and targeting schools, hospitals and other facilities are also gravely affecting children and depriving them of their rights

In addition, a very large number of Palestinian and Israeli children have lived under the terror of explosions over the past weeks, caused by rocket attacks, air strikes and shelling.

All parties to the conflict should abide by their obligations to provide special protection for children. The Committee recalls that international human rights law, including the provisions Convention on the Rights of the Child as ratified, applies at all times, including in situations of armed conflict. It recalls in this regard its 2010 concluding observations adopted upon the consideration of the Initial report of Israel concerning the implementation of the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict, in which it “…urges the State party to: (a) Take prompt measures to comply with the fundamental principles of proportionality and distinction enshrined in humanitarian law, including the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War of 1949, which set out the minimum standards for the protection of civilians in armed conflict; (b) Pay special attention to the right to life of Palestinian children…” (CRC/C/OPAC/ISR/CO/1, Para.11).

The Committee calls for an immediate cease-fire to stop the spiral of violence, protect civilians (in particular children), and lay the ground for a sustainable peace.

The Committee reiterates calls for a prompt, impartial, independent and effective investigation into credible allegations of violations of rights under the Convention, and to this end welcomes the decision by the Human Rights Council to establish a commission of inquiry on the matter.