Richard Falk, special rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, said here Thursday that Palestinian children living under the Israeli occupation must be granted further protection in line with international norms and standards.
Falk's statements came as he addressed reporters during a news briefing here on his latest annual report on the situation of human rights in the occupied territories of Palestine. Falk had presented the report to the Third Committee of the UN General Assembly on Thursday morning. The Third Committee is in charge of social, humanitarian and cultural affairs.
He said that aside from reviewing the impacts of Israel's blockade of the Gaza Strip as well as Israeli settlement expansion, his report stresses the hardships on Palestinian children that are "associated with prolonged occupation."
"Whole generations of children have grown up and know nothing other than the experience of occupation," said Falk. "Some who have been living in refugee camps have been living in those camps, their families, since 1948. It's an extraordinary reality that you have to witness to really appreciate its problematic character."
Falk said he has believed for a long time that "international law and human rights law is not really equipped to deal with the special circumstances that arise when an occupation is something more than temporary and short term."
His report, as presented to the Third Committee outlines threats to Palestinian children in the form of night time raids and detentions by Israeli occupation forces as well as abuse of the rights of children associated with interrogations and detainment by Israel.
The special rapporteur said that another area of concern is attacks on Palestinians, including Palestinian children, by Israeli settlers that the government of Israel fails to stop.
"Settler violence taking a variety of forms -- attacks on people and communities, Palestinian people and communities," he said. "And there are in certain parts of the West Bank fairly frequent attacks on children on their way to school, and this has discouraged some Palestinian families from actually allowing their children to go to school so it has interfered with the right to education in a significant way."