UN experts denounce Israeli raid on West Bank children NGO
Experts Michael Lynk, special rapporteur on human rights in the Palestinian territory; Irene Khan, special rapporteur on the right to freedom of expression; Clement Nyaletsossi Voule, special rapporteur on peaceful assembly; and Mary Lawlor, special rapporteur on human rights defenders, called on Tel Aviv to allow the NGO to continue its work uninterrupted.
"We are deeply concerned by the Israeli military's interference with the human rights work of a well-known and well-regarded NGO," said the experts.
Computers, hard drives, binders, and other materials were seized from the offices of the Defense for Children International-Palestine (DCIP) in Al-Bireh during a 5 a.m. raid at the end of July.
"The indispensable work of Palestinian, Israeli, and international civil society organizations has provided a measure of much-needed accountability in documenting and scrutinizing the dispiriting human rights trends in the occupied Palestinian territory," the experts said.
The DCIP has "reliably reported on the patterns of arrests, maiming and killing of Palestinian children" by Israeli military in the occupied West Bank, East Jerusalem and the besieged Gaza Strip, the experts said.
BREAKING: Israeli forces raided our main office in Al-Bireh today around 5 a.m., confiscating computers, laptops, and files concerning our Palestinian child detainee clients in the Israeli military courts. We were not informed of the reason for the raid. pic.twitter.com/IE9i4ZDvfP— Defense for Children (@DCIPalestine) July 29, 2021
The silencing or hindering the NGO’s work violates the fundamental human rights of expression and association, which Israel has committed to uphold by ratifying two 1966 international covenants, they added.
Since January, Israeli forces have killed 11 Palestinian children in the West Bank, the experts noted, adding that the toll was higher than the recorded deaths of Palestinian children by occupying forces in all of 2020.
Also, 67 Palestinian children were killed by Israeli bombardment of the impoverished Gaza Strip in May.
The UN experts called for impartial and transparent investigations into these killings.
"All civilian lives under occupation are protected under international law. This is particularly true for the rights of children," they said.
"We are aware of the long-standing criticisms of the lack of transparent and impartial investigations in apparent violations of Palestinian human rights by the Israeli military."