News from Gaza: 12 August 2014

Thursday 14 August 2014


The IBBY library in Beit Hanoun was housed in the building of the al-Ataa Society.

In April 2013 the IBBY President visited the centre in Beit Hanoun. He went with the President of IBBY Palestine, the President of the IBBY Trust and the IBBY Executive Director. The IBBY library was a place of peace. The children could go to read, draw or just play. This visit was so impressive in many ways, not least the dedication of the librarians and the families who participated and encouraged their young ones to go. The library was a bright, clean and welcoming place.

Today the library and the neighbourhood is a pile of rubble. The children’s homes have either been totally destroyed or partially destroyed. All of them have been displaced with their families.

IBBY will be launching a new appeal for donations to rebuild and restock the IBBY-run libraries in Gaza. The launch will be at the 34th IBBY World Congress in Mexico City on 10 September 2014.

25th Anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child

2014 marks the 25th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

We call upon all people to remember Article 6, which states:

1. Parties recognize that every child has the inherent right to life.

2. Parties shall ensure to the maximum extent possible the survival and development of the child.

The Convention on the Rights of the Child was ratified by Israel on 3 October 1991. Only Somalia and the USA have not yet ratified the Convention.

At the General Assembly in 2012 IBBY members voted to add a new section under the Aims of IBBY (Clause 1) to its Statutes:

To protect and uphold the Rights of the Child especially concerning the articles 14, 17, 23, 28, 29 and 30 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

These articles state:

Article 14

Parties shall respect the right of the child to freedom of thought, conscience and religion.

Article 17

Parties recognize the important function performed by the mass media and shall ensure that the child has access to information and material from a diversity of national and international sources, especially those aimed at the promotion of his or her social, spiritual and moral well-being and physical and mental health.

Article 23

Parties recognize that a mentally or physically disabled child should enjoy a full and decent life, in conditions, which ensure dignity, promote self-reliance and facilitate the child’s active participation in the community.

Article 28

Parties recognize the right of the child to education, and with a view to achieving this right progressively and on the basis of equal opportunity.

Parties shall promote and encourage international cooperation in matters relating to education, in particular with a view to contributing to the elimination of ignorance and illiteracy throughout the world and facilitating access to scientific and technical knowledge and modern teaching methods. In this regard, particular account shall be taken of the needs of developing countries.

Article 29

Parties agree that the education of the child shall be directed to:

(a) The development of the child’s personality, talents and mental and physical abilities to their fullest potential;

(b) The development of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, and for the principles enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations;

(c) The development of respect for the child’s parents, his or her own cultural identity, language and values, for the national values of the country in which the child is living, the country from which he or she may originate, and for civilizations different from his or her own;

(d) The preparation of the child for responsible life in a free society, in the spirit of understanding, peace, tolerance, equality of sexes, and friendship among all peoples, ethnic, national and religious groups and persons of indigenous origin;

(e) The development of respect for the natural environment.

Article 30

In those States in which ethnic, religious or linguistic minorities or persons of indigenous origin exist, a child belonging to such a minority or who is indigenous shall not be denied the right, in community with other members of his or her group, to enjoy his or her own culture, to profess and practice his or her own religion, or to use his or her own language.

The full text can be read at http://www.ohchr.org

We also feel that the following articles are particularly relevant in the current situation:

Article 37

States Parties shall ensure that:

(a) No child shall be subjected to torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. Neither capital punishment nor life imprisonment without possibility of release shall be imposed for offences committed by persons below eighteen years of age;

(b) No child shall be deprived of his or her liberty unlawfully or arbitrarily. The arrest, detention or imprisonment of a child shall be in conformity with the law and shall be used only as a measure of last resort and for the shortest appropriate period of time;

(c) Every child deprived of liberty shall be treated with humanity and respect for the inherent dignity of the human person, and in a manner, which takes into account the needs of persons of his or her age. In particular, every child deprived of liberty shall be separated from adults unless it is considered in the child’s best interest not to do so and shall have the right to maintain contact with his or her family through correspondence and visits, save in exceptional circumstances;

(d) Every child deprived of his or her liberty shall have the right to prompt access to legal and other appropriate assistance, as well as the right to challenge the legality of the deprivation of his or her liberty before a court or other competent, independent and impartial authority, and to a prompt decision on any such action.

Article 38

1. Parties undertake to respect and to ensure respect for rules of international humanitarian law applicable to them in armed conflicts, which are relevant to the child.

2. Parties shall take all feasible measures to ensure that persons who have not attained the age of fifteen years do not take a direct part in hostilities.

3. Parties shall refrain from recruiting any person who has not attained the age of fifteen years into their armed forces.

4. In accordance with their obligations under international humanitarian law to protect the civilian population in armed conflicts, Parties shall take all feasible measures to ensure protection and care of children who are affected by an armed conflict.

Article 39

Parties shall take all appropriate measures to promote physical and psychological recovery and social reintegration of a child victim of: any form of neglect, exploitation, or abuse; torture or any other form of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment; or armed conflicts. Such recovery and reintegration shall take place in an environment, which fosters the health, self-respect and dignity of the child.

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