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No Way to Treat a Child Congressional Briefing June 2015
Tariq Abu Khdeir addresses a crowded room during a congressional briefing on Palestinian children in Israeli military detention in Washington, DC, on June 2, 2015. (Photo: DCIP)

 

Campaign roots

Palestinian children have the right to a safe and just future. The No Way to Treat a Child campaign believes the U.S. government must take concrete steps towards this future by holding Israeli authorities accountable for its violations of Palestinian children’s rights.

The early seeds of the campaign were planted in 2013 when a group of local activists, determined to raise awareness about the issues facing Palestinian children, brought Defense for Children International-Palestine (DCIP) to Chicago to lead a workshop on child detention in the Israeli military system. This group, with staff from the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) and DCIP, formed the core that would become the No Way to Treat a Child campaign.

Over the last three years, we have grown from a small group of activists in Chicago to a nationwide movement that seeks to challenge Israel’s prolonged military occupation by exposing widespread and systematic ill-treatment of Palestinian children in the Israeli military detention system. We are fighting to defend Palestinian children and hold perpetrators of grave rights violations accountable. Join us.

 

Recent activities

 

Congressional briefing marking 50 years of Israeli occupation

On June 8, 2017, we held a congressional briefing on Capitol Hill marking 50 years of Israeli military occupation and highlighting the current situation for Palestinian children living in the occupied, West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip.

Staff from at least 36 congressional offices attended as representatives of Human Rights Watch, the Adalah Justice Project, and DCIP examined how daily violence and systemic discrimination affect the lives of Palestinian children.

The briefing also featured testimony from Yazan Meqbil, a Palestinian youth who described growing up under occupation in the occupied West Bank town of Beit Ummar, near Hebron.

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Petition demanding end to ill-treatment of Palestinian children

On February 2, 2017, DCIP and American Friends Service Committee delivered a petition to the US State Department signed by over 11,000 individuals standing against ill-treatment and torture of Palestinian children.

The petition urged the US Secretary of State to prioritize the human rights of Palestinian children and to hold Israeli authorities accountable for widespread and systematic ill-treatment of Palestinian child detainees.

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Calling for accountability through a Special Envoy

In June 2016, twenty members of Congress signed a letter urging President Obama to appoint a Special Envoy for Palestinian Children in June 2016.

Thanks to over 27,000 individuals who wrote their representatives, we began moving Congress toward concrete action demanding accountability for Israel’s grave human rights violations against Palestinian children.

The Special Envoy would promote greater respect for human rights, increase protections for Palestinian children, and work to hold Israeli and Palestinian governments accountable to their obligations under universal human rights norms.

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Congressional briefing on ill-treatment of child detainees

On June 2, 2015, we held a congressional briefing on Capitol Hill, featuring remarks from Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) and testimonies from former child prisoners.

Palestinian-American teen, Tariq Abu Khdeir, described his experience in East Jerusalem during the summer of 2014, when Israeli border police arrested him and beat him unconscious. Suha, his mother, described the impact Tariq’s arrest and detention had on their family.

Over 100 attendees packed the room to hear this testimony, including staff from at least 30 Congressional offices, media, and members of the general public.

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Congress urges Obama Administration to protect Palestinian children

In June 2015, we celebrated one of our first major victories when 19 members of Congress signed a letter to US Secretary of State John Kerry, urging him to prioritize the human rights situation of Palestinian children detained by Israeli forces under Israeli military law.

The letter expressed profound concern over Israel’s widespread, systematic, and institutionalized ill-treatment of Palestinian child detainees.

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Bringing Palestinian children's voices to U.S. audiences

 

Detaining Dreams

In April 2015, Joyce and John Cassel, a retired teacher and retired psychologist, travelled to the West Bank and worked with DCIP staff to film the stories of four former child prisoners from communities in the Hebron district.

In close collaboration with AFSC and DCIP, Joyce, John, and film editors Amr Kwaji and Nawal Musleh created a powerful short documentary, Detaining Dreams.

The short film was launched in June 2015 and has since been shown to audiences across the country.

Watch Detaining Dreams

 

 

Night Raid Photo Exhibit

While on a trip to the occupied West Bank, Richard Cahan, a photojournalist from Chicago, photographed families from the village of Bil’in standing in the doorways to their homes and created a photo exhibit called Night Raid.

The sixteen photos that make up this exhibit are accompanied by descriptions of the Israeli military’s regular practice of arresting Palestinian children from their homes between midnight and 5 a.m.

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Defense for Children International - Palestine (DCIP) is a local, independent Palestinian human rights organization committed to securing a just and viable future for Palestinian children in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.