The following statement was issued on Tuesday by the 18-member UN Committee
on the Rights of the Child, which is currently in session:
The United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child is deeply
concerned at the devastating effects that the current military
engagement in Gaza is having on children. Hundreds of children have
been killed or injured, many seriously. Many others have lost their
loved ones. The continuous fighting and destruction of livelihoods and
basic infrastructures, severely compromise enjoyment of human rights
especially in relation to health, education and family life. Children
have also experienced serious difficulties in accessing humanitarian
aid. The emotional and psychological effects of these events on an
entire generation of children will be severe.
The Convention on the Rights of the Child has been ratified by 193
States, testifying to a universally recognized commitment for the
respect and protection of the rights of children. But the rights
enshrined in the Convention, including the right of children to life,
survival and development and to be protected from all forms of
violence, have been blatantly violated during this crisis. The
Committee recalls that human rights law, including the Convention,
applies at all times, including in situations of armed conflict.
The Committee stresses that, under article 38 of the Convention,
States parties - in accordance with their obligations under
international humanitarian law to protect the civilian population in
armed conflicts - shall take all feasible measures to ensure
protection and care of children who are affected by an armed conflict.
They also undertake to respect and to ensure respect for the rules of
international humanitarian law applicable to them in armed conflicts
which are relevant to the child. The Committee emphasizes that all
parties must ensure the protection of children during the conflict and
abide by the relevant provisions of international law in this respect.
The Committee also underlines that in the preamble of the Optional
Protocol to the Convention on the involvement of children in armed
conflict -- to which Israel is a Party -- States parties condemn: "the
targeting of children in situations of armed conflict and direct
attacks on objects protected under international law, including places
that generally have a significant presence of children, such as
schools and hospitals." This affirmation is undermined by the fact
that many children have lost their lives as a result of manifest
disrespect for their protection and that of their schools, including
some administered by the United Nations itself.
The Committee joins the calls of Security Council Resolution 1860
(adopted on 8 January 2009), the Secretary-General, the High
Commissioner for Human Rights and the Special Representative of the
Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict for an immediate
cessation of hostilities from both sides.
The UN Committee on Rights of the Child is one of eight human rights
treaty bodies whose role is to monitor signatory states'
implementation of key international human rights treaties. The
Committee monitors the implementation of the Convention on the Rights
of the Child, and its two Optional Protocols. For more information on
the work of the Committee and other treaty bodies, go to: