ENOC Bureau Statement on continuous massive violations of the rights of children in Gaza

April 2024

The Bureau of the European Network of Ombudspersons for Children expresses deep concerns about the continuous grave violations of the rights of children in Gaza since the start of the war, more than six months ago. Children in Gaza struggle to survive. They are subject, on a daily basis, to unimaginable atrocities, violence, injury, and famine. Their basic immediate needs are not met and humanitarian aid faces insurmountable obstacles to reach those in urgent need.

Every child has the right to life, the right to live in safety, to have access to food, water, housing, education, and adequate healthcare. The ongoing conflict and deprivation have caused a dramatic loss of innocent lives, displacement, and trauma for countless children.

The war has resulted in thousands of civilian casualties - more than 13,000 of whom are children - and next to that mass forced displacement, the destruction of the homes and vital infrastructure of the population, including hospitals and schools. Thousands of children are reported to have been injured, are reported missing, and are likely to be injured or killed. One million children are displaced in Gaza, facing constant risks of exposure to attacks, violence, and abuse. They lack access to humanitarian aid, health care, shelter, and food. An estimated 17,000 children have been separated or lost their parents and are suffering from psychological trauma. More than 1 million children[¹] need psychological support. Approximately 625,000 children in the age of attending school have not done so for the last 6 months. Gaza is now considered as the most dangerous place for children.

The situation reached a critical point with the lack of food and clean water leading to an imminent famine. Children are suffering from acute malnutrition and dehydration. There are reports of children dying from starvation, a tragedy that is entirely preventable and caused by the blocking and restriction of humanitarian aid.

We urgently call for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire to protect children’s lives and ensure the delivery of vital aid and life-saving support to all affected areas. All parties involved must prioritize the safety and well-being of children, respect international humanitarian law, and work towards a sustainable peace that guarantees the rights and dignity of every child in the region. Any grave violations against all children, including killing and maiming of children should end. We call for the immediate, safe, and unconditional release of all detained children and hostages in particular.

We urge the international community to take immediate action to save the lives and protect the rights of Palestinian children and ensure their immediate needs are met, in all areas. This includes unhindered delivery of food and aid, and life-saving assistance and services to those in urgent need.

We call on the international community and on states to increase funding to UN agencies providing life-saving aid and support on the ground, and security assurances for a safe passage of humanitarian workers.


[¹] Estimated by UNICEF


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