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December 12th, 2015

The Irony of Human Rights Day for Palestinian Children

On this warm, balmy 10 December evening, the Granny Peace Brigade joined together with the Union Square Women in Black Against the Occupation among other groups to commemorate this year’s International Human Rights Day. December 10 is the day on which, in 1948, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights……. ironically, the same year that the state of Israel was created resulting in the continued  denial of basic human rights for Palestinians which we see still happening today, over 60 years later.

We, a group of around 25 women and men, stood for GAZA. We stood for the rights of Palestinians, and in particular Palestinian children, this generation the fourth generation denied basic rights.

The right to life: since the year 2000, around 2000 Palestinian children in Gaza and the occupied territories were killed either through Israeli military action or the actions of the illegal, Zionist settlers.

The right to a home/shelter: Over 20,000 homes of Palestinians have been crushed, demolished by Israeli bulldozers (usually from the US firm Caterpillar) to get rid of unwanted Palestinian households or to punish an entire household for what may be  perceived by Israeli authorities as unlawful acts. Thousands of Palestinian homes were demolished to make room for the illegal settlements in the West Bank and to make room for the abhorrent separation wall. And this policy continues, with homes demolished virtually every day.

The right of education: On the positive side, enrollments and completion rates for Palestinian children are high, demonstrating their desire for a better life, a future. Yet thousands of children suffer from the trauma of war, bombings, loss of family and friends. They suffer from the loss of childhood. We remember those young boys playing on a beach in GAZA, killed by Israeli soldiers.

Globally, this year’s Human Rights Day was devoted to the launch of a year-long campaign for the 50th anniversary of the two International Covenants on Human Rights: the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which were adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 16 December 1966.

The two Covenants, together with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, form the International Bill of Human Rights, setting out the civil, political, cultural, economic, and social rights that are the birth right of all human beings. And ironically, these basic rights have been denied to three to four generations of Palestinian children (depends if we count from 1948 or 1966).

We say, it’s about time the US stops its military and other aid to Israel, a country which continues to violate the human rights of Palestinians. We support the Boycott, Divest, Sanctions (BDS) movement putting economic pressures on Israel to change its policies. We support the Palestinian people in their continued struggle for their homeland.

– Marty Rajandran
for the Granny Peace Brigade

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