Urgent call to contain hate speech and war narratives, demand international protection of children’s rights in Israel and Palestine
– UNICEF and Amnesty International report that thousands of children have been killed and thousands more injured more than a week after the war began.
– No war benefits children or the populations of a territory, but above all, all wars leave deep wounds on children and youth.
– It is the responsibility of the international community to intervene with determination, to stop the flow of weapons and financial resources, and to prioritize life over any political or religious interest.
October 17, 2023 – In the midst of the long-running conflict in Israel and Palestine, it is imperative to remember that all children have the right to live free from violence and the scourge of war. Article 38-4 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child on children and armed conflict states: “In accordance with obligations under international humanitarian law to protect the civilian population during armed conflict, States Parties shall take all feasible measures to ensure the protection and care of children affected by armed conflict.” It is vital to remember that the States of Israel, the Middle East, the United States and the European Union are obliged to safeguard these rights for children in Israel and the Palestinian territories.
We are witnessing war crimes that demand a global response to prioritize the immediate protection of children and young people under siege. We recall that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, promulgated 75 years ago after World War II, affirmed the incompatibility between war and the progress of humanity. The various resolutions of the United Nations since 1948 to date, seek peaceful solutions in the region, stressing the urgency of providing an environment free of violence, building a culture of peace and intercultural dialogue.
At Tejiendo Redes Infancia in Latin America and the Caribbean, we consider it essential to recognize that all wars, without exception, have a devastating impact on the lives of children, women and young people. This is not about taking sides in this conflict, but about advocating for the meaning of the human species as a whole. No war benefits humanity. No war benefits children or the inhabitants of a territory. All wars destroy, all wars have fatal losses, but above all, all wars leave deep wounds in their children and youth.
It is the responsibility of the international community to intervene with determination, to stop the flow of weapons and financial resources, and to prioritize life over any political or religious interest. Today we have the opportunity to stop this conflict before the multi-billion dollar war business billion-dollar business of war escalates to other countries and prevents hate speeches from multiplying and war narratives from globalizing, even more so when the war in Russia and Ukraine continues to bleed; the various armed conflicts in Africa and the widespread armed violence in Mexico and Latin America. This reality imposes on us the ethical obligation to protect the lives of all people and the integrity of children and young people.
It is vital to denounce and condemn the inhumane actions carried out by the terrorist group Hamas, as well as to demand Israel to stop direct attacks on the population in Gaza; it is obliged to respond in a proportional manner focused on containing aggressions without escalations, or attacks on the civilian population and respectful of international law that establishes precise rules in any war. As well as international protection for journalists, personnel of international organizations such as the International Red Cross and the United Nations that work to protect the lives of civilians in conflict zones.
The impact of violence on children goes beyond the conflict zone; millions of children and young people are following in real time -via the Internet- the terrible images of violence, disinformation, hate speeches and a distorted vision of conflict resolution based on revenge and hatred.
In this context, we consider it urgent that the media assume the commitment to create appropriate content for children with an ethical handling of information; families to have conversations about the impact of war on the emotional lives of their children and encourage them to participate in peace building; digital content platforms to work intensively to avoid feeding “the algorithm of hate” and authorities to remember their responsibility to develop programs that promote the development of a culture of peace and to promote a culture of peace.
The impact of violence on children goes beyond the conflict zone; millions of children and young people are following in real time – via the Internet – the terrible images of violence, misinformation, hate speech and a distorted vision of conflict resolution based on revenge and hatred.
In this context, we consider it urgent for the media to assume the commitment to create appropriate content for children with an ethical handling of information; for families to have conversations about the impact of war on the emotional lives of their children and encourage them to participate in peace building; for digital content platforms to work intensively to avoid feeding “the algorithm of hate” and for authorities to remember their responsibility to develop effective programs to prevent damage to the mental health of millions of children and young people.
Finally, from Tejiendo Redes Infancia, we call for the cessation of hostilities and remind States of their obligations under International Humanitarian Law, and their responsibility to provide and guarantee special protection to children.
Juan Martín Pérez García
Resources of interest:
-In the midst of war: how to think from nonviolence? https://tinyurl.com/3yt76jxb
-Statement by Catherine Russell, Executive Director of UNICEF, on the deteriorating situation of children in Israel and the State of Palestine. https://tinyurl.com/68r2tsun
-Appeal by President Lula in defense of Palestinian and Israeli children https://tinyurl.com/2s4ssnjx
-Children and war. International Review of the Red Cross IRRC No. 911 August 2019 https://international-review.icrc.org/es/revistas/irrc-no-911-los-ninos-y-la-guerra
Paradigm shift in Palestine https://www.voltairenet.org/article219790.html