UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore has held Israel primarily responsible for the safety of Palestinian minors across the occupied territories.
In a Thursday statement issued in response to child deaths in Gaza, Fore said: “Last Friday, 6 September, two Palestinian children were killed during demonstrations at the fence between the Gaza Strip and Israel.”
“We remind Israel of its critical responsibility to ensure that the safety and well-being of children is paramount at all times”, said UNICEF Executive Director.
“We remind the authorities in Gaza of their critical responsibility to prevent children from being exposed to the risk of violence or used as instruments of political action”, she added.
Fore said the rights of all children need to be fully acknowledged and fully respected, adding that children’s safety and their rights must be a primary consideration in Israel, in the State of Palestine, and for all adults who have influence over children’s lives.
“The situation in Gaza is dire and people see little hope of improvement in the near future. These protests are likely to continue. The time for action to protect children is now, before any more lives are lost,” stated the UN official.
International law prohibits attacks and assaults against children, particularly at times of war. The Fourth Geneva Convention contains a number of articles which provide special protection to children. Protocol I states in Article 77 that “children shall be the object of special respect and shall be protected against any form of indecent assault. The Parties to the conflict shall provide them with the care and aid they require, whether because of their age or for any other reason”.