Stop the siege on Gaza children.

November 20th, 2007 | Posted in Boycott, Palestine, Politics, Resistance, Solidarity, War and Terror

    Statement from the Gaza Community Mental Health Program.


    Photo: Palestinian Boys in the Gaza Strip…

Tomorrow, November 19th, 2007, the world celebrates the seventh anniversary of the World Day for Prevention of Child Abuse. This day comes as millions of children all over the world are exposed to various forms of torture, exploitation, and ill-treatment. Moreover, their rights and freedom are violated, in contradiction with all international conventions, agreements, and laws regarding children’s rights.

This anniversary comes as Palestinian children are exposed to various forms of violent practices and abuses and strict siege by the Israeli Occupation Forces, depriving them of their basic rights and freedom to live in a nurturing and safe environment as well as their rights to education and psychological & physical well-being.

Over the past seven years of the Intifada, more than 950 Palestinian children were killed; thousands were injured. Additionally, about 7800 houses were demolished in the same period, forcing thousands of children to be homeless and displaced in temporary shelters for long periods of times.

Also, more than 360 Palestinian children are still imprisoned in Israeli jails, where Israeli Prisons Authorities practice violence, humiliation, and violations of their basic rights by means of exposure to cruel, ill treatment, and various forms of abuse as well as deprivation of food, sleep, and family visitations.

Furthermore, due to the strict siege and closure imposed on Gaza Strip, the economic, social, and health conditions in the Occupied Palestinian Territories has deteriorated to an unprecedented and alarming level, warning of a dangerous humanitarian catastrophe and posing a major cause for deteriorating the mental health situation of Palestinian citizens, particularly children. Moreover, the strict siege over Gaza Strip prevents patients, including children, from receiving the much- needed medical services abroad.

On the occasion of World Day for Prevention of Child Abuse, We, at Gaza Community Mental Health Programme (GCMHP) express our deep concerns of the Israeli violations to children’s rights such as targeting children, torture, deprivation of movement, inability to obtain educational books, and inadequacy of needed health care. We, also, warn of the grave impacts of such traumatic incidents on the mental health of Palestinian children and women in particular as evidenced by the increasing number of cases of traumatized children and women.

Clinical experience revealed that Palestinian children are suffering from feelings of abandonment and neglect as a result of the inability of their parents to fulfil their basic needs, including providing food and security. These feelings of resentment and oppression are leading to defiance and extremism will leave catastrophic consequences of the psychological profile of the next Palestinian generation. As a result, extremism as ideologies will construct the major aspect of the mental schemata for the coming Palestinian generation. This will impact the Palestinian society internally, and will impact the political atmosphere in the whole region, endangering the possibilities of peace and security.

We, at GCMHP, are emphasizing that it is necessary for the international community to pay a close attention to the children right of protection from the negative consequences of violence and abuse in order to maintain their psychological and physical well being. We stress that ignoring such issues is considered a violation of Child’s Rights Agreement and also considered a form of violence against children, as stated by the Agreement.

Significantly, we, at GCMHP urgently appeal to the international community to rescue and protect Palestinian children and to break the imposed siege on Palestinian people. In addition, we appeal to them to pressure Israel to stop violation of Palestinian rights and to re-open borders allowing free movement of people, goods, and medication. We also appeal to them to pressure Israel to abide by the international conventions regarding human rights and children’s rights. Additionally, we urge them to exert more efforts in order to free all imprisoned Palestinian children from Israeli Jails, and to end all forms of abuse against Palestinian children.

We, at GCMHP, invite all people to unite for ensuring a safe childhood and protecting children from exploitation and abuse in order to build nations aspiring for peace, democracy, respect of human rights, and rule of law.

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