Miranda Cleland, advocacy officer at Defense for Children International - Palestine, traveled to Ireland in April 2023 with support from Sadaka - The Ireland Palestine Alliance to meet with members of parliament and Palestinian rights activists regarding Palestinian children in the Israeli military detention system.
Miranda met with deputies from Sinn Féin, Labour, Green, and Fine Gael parties, as well as Independent Senator Frances Black, who expressed support for DCIP and solidarity with Palestinian children.
Delighted to meet with Miranda today from Defense for Children Palestine along with @Costellop who since 1991 have investigated, documented,& exposed grave human rights violations against children; they provide legal services to children in urgent need.. #Heartbreaking #Palestine pic.twitter.com/aNt7FiOy5Q— Frances Black (@frances_black) April 25, 2023
Very informative meeting for the @sinnfeinireland team with the Defence for Children International, Palestine and @SadakaIreland 🇮🇪🇵🇸— Mark Ward T.D. (@Wardy1916) April 25, 2023
17 children have been killed by Israeli forces in 2023 so far and countless more detained pic.twitter.com/J2BglTBF5A
Thanks to Miranda McClleland @DCIPalestine & @SadakaIreland for the informative briefing & meeting with me @labour today on abuses of the rights of children & child detainees in #Palestine pic.twitter.com/h3osBl37TX— Ivana Bacik (@ivanabacik) April 25, 2023
The Ireland Palestine Solidarity campaign in southeastern Ireland hosted Miranda for a screening of OBAIDA and discussion of the treatment of Palestinian children in the Israeli military detention system.
Alongside former political prisoner Salah Hammouri, Miranda addressed civil society organisations, faith groups, and trade unions at a roundtable co-hosted by the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign and Sadaka at UNITE the Union's office in Dublin.
Irish civil society organizations were among the first to #StandWithThe6 after Israel outlawed Palestinian human rights organizations including @DCIPalestine and @Addameer. So of course it was an honor to share space with them alongside Salah Hammouri today. https://t.co/KKMmtU6WJb pic.twitter.com/AMSAIO9f02— Miranda Cleland (@MirandaCleland) April 24, 2023
This advocacy trip was critical in nurturing relationships with Palestinian rights activists, civil society organisations, faith leaders, elected officials, and trade unions across Ireland.
In September 2021, Sadaka and DCIP partnered to introduce the No Way to Treat a Child campaign in Ireland through the Different Back to School Run campaign, highlighting the violations of Palestinian children's right to education.
Approximately 3 million Palestinians live in the occupied West Bank, of which around 45 percent are children under the age of 18.
Palestinian children in the West Bank, like adults, face arrest, prosecution, and imprisonment under an Israeli military detention system that denies them basic rights.Read more
Israel has the dubious distinction of being the only country in the world that systematically prosecutes an estimated 500 to 700 children each year in military courts lacking fundamental fair trial rights. Children within the Israeli military system commonly report physical and verbal abuse from the moment of their arrest, and coercion and threats during interrogations.
The poster below highlights the specific stages of detention Palestinian children experience when detained by Israeli forces and prosecuted in the Israeli military court system.Read more
For many years, Ireland has increasingly evolved as a strong voice of solidarity for the Palestinian people, both on a national level and within European Union and United Nations platforms. There is a deep connection between the people of both nations, undoubtedly grounded in a common historical experience of colonialism and occupation. With enormous support for the cause of the Palestinian people amongst the Irish general population, over the years, this has increasingly become evident in Ireland’s foreign policy positions.
In February 1980, Ireland was the first country to recognise the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) and to call for a Palestinian state, leading to a similar position being adopted by the European Economic Community (EEC), a precursor to the European Union, a few months later. Ireland’s Occupied Territories Bill 2018, which would prohibit trade in goods and services from illegal Israeli settlements has passed eight out of 10 stages in the Irish legislative process and has been the catalyst for the initiation of similar legislation in other countries. In May 2021, Ireland became the first EU country to declare that de facto annexation has taken place in the occupied West Bank, paving the way for the introduction of the counter measures which typically accompany this breach of international law.
Ireland’s position on Palestine is not unique in the area of human rights. In 1984, a group of supermarket workers in refusing to handle goods imported from apartheid South Africa went on strike, which galvanised civil society and ultimately resulted in the Irish government formally adopting a policy to boycott South African produce. This was the first complete ban of South African imports by a Western government.
While developments at a political and policy level make the headlines, the human cost of Israel’s occupation is often the driving force behind Ireland’s advocacy, whether that be the devastating consequences of the regular and persistent murder of Palestinians, home demolitions, administrative detention, arbitrary arrests, limitation on movement or the pervasive violent targeting of Palestinian children. This campaign, aimed at stimulating further political change, specifically draws public attention to the human rights abuses experienced by Palestinian children.
The Different Back to School Run campaign ran from August 23 to September 6, 2021 in Ireland. Here's a Q&A with the organizers to learn more about the campaign strategy.
What is the goal of this campaign? How will you know if you’ve reached that goal?
The Different Back to School Run campaign across Ireland is designed to raise awareness of the challenges Palestinian children face over the course of their education. It aims to increase literacy of the Palestinian struggle among the general Irish public and inspire Irish lawmakers to take action in support of Palestinian human rights by holding Israeli authorities accountable for allowing Israeli forces and settlers to inflict violence upon Palestinian children with impunity.
How will you know if you’ve reached that goal?
We will be able to measure the social media reach of the campaign through likes and shares on Facebook, as well as retweets and likes on Twitter. Having our articles, op-eds, and interviews picked up by newspapers and radio shows will also be good indicators of success. When the issues of school demolitions, home demolitions, the rights of Palestinian children, and their education are raised in the Dáil, (Irish parliament) and in governmental think tanks, using parliamentary questions in the autumn, we will have reached our goal of informing and questioning lawmakers of the plight of Palestinian children. In an ideal world, if the 54 Palestinian schools scheduled for demolition by Israel are still standing by next year then we will have made a big difference.
Who are the organizers of this campaign?
The campaign is led by Sadaka and Defense for Children International - Palestine as a part of the No Way to Treat a Child campaign.
When is the campaign and how did you choose that time?
The campaign will be active from August 23 to September 6, 2021 to align with the start of the new school year in Ireland. We are aiming to draw parallels between the school experiences of Palestinian and Irish children and are hoping to take advantage of the momentum and media coverage on education as a hot topic, to raise awareness of the violence that Palestinian children face at the hands of Israeli soldiers and settlers during their school experience.
What tactics are you using in the campaign? How did you choose them?
This is a multifaceted campaign which uses different tactics to reach different target audiences. We are placing a mobile digital billboard with key messaging in three major Irish cities and hanging a large banner on a tall building in a high-traffic area in Dublin.
Our media strategy includes the placement of an op-ed in a major Irish publication as well as accessing interviews on morning radio shows to reach parents and teachers as they begin to think about returning to school. Former EA’s from EAPPI will inform provincial media outlets of their experience in accompanying Palestinian children to school.
We will use social media to promote these tactics, and to reach a wider audience by sharing photos, videos and messages throughout the duration of the campaign.
It’s important that this campaign also spur Irish lawmakers to action, so we are planning to ask parliamentary questions when parliament reopens to immediately draw attention to Palestinian children.
What actions do you want people to take as a result of this campaign?
This campaign aims to raise public awareness of the plight of Palestinian children, especially with regard to accessing education. Through this general awareness raising campaign, the Irish public will be encouraged to put pressure on politicians and local government officials to build momentum and take next steps now that the government has declared the de facto annexation of Palestine. We hope that through this campaign the Irish people will call on the government to uphold their commitments to take meaningful action on Palestine, including reintroducing the Occupied Territories Bill. The government can no longer merely condemn the situation in Palestine, but must now act in accordance with the will of the Irish people.
How can people support this campaign?
People can support this campaign by sharing the campaign on social media, and liking and sharing our posts, as well as engaging with the content on the website. Most importantly, we would encourage people to speak with their TDs (elected representatives) about the campaign, remind them that Palestine is still an important issue, and that we would like to see Ireland take a lead role in addressing the violence against children that is taking place there.