Focus: the situation of Palestinian children at the beginning of the first intifada
International customary and conventional law such as the Regulations Respecting the Laws and Customs of War on Land, annexed to both The Hague Convention of 29 July 1989 (II) and The Hague Convention of 18 October 1907 (IV), and the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War of 12 August 1949, the Fourth Geneva Convention, give legal protection to the child under military occupation. Children are considered in need of protection because of their vulnerability, age, immaturity, and absence de discernment. According to articles 27 and 32 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, children, like all civilians, shall be treated humanely, free of coercion, corporal and collective punishments as well as with respect for their life, physical well-being and moral integrity. Furthermore, article 50 of the Fourth Geneva Convention stipulates the following:
“The occupying Power shall, with the cooperation of the national and local authorities, facilitate the proper working of all institutions devoted to the care and education of children.”
During more than 20 years of military rule, two generations of Palestinian children have suffered from serious limitations imposed on their basic rights to education, effective protection of the family, health and worship as well as sustained attempts to alienate them from their rich history, customs and tradition. The violent death and physical injury, the destruction of homes, disregard for nationality, collective punishments, the detention and cruel treatment of children under arrest, and an all-pervasive climate of oppression, suspicion and fear continue to shape the lives of Palestinian children. Every day and in nearly every aspect of life, they are dependent on the policies of the occupation authorities. Whether in the street, at school or at home, Palestinian children live in the shadow of mounting repression, violence and grief.
Source: United Nations, Palestinian children in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, 1990.