Geneva - The Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor sent a letter to Palestinian Prime Minister, Muhammad Shtayyeh, and Minister of Justice, Muhammad Shalalda, in which it reviewed the obstacles that would hinder implementing the provisions of the 1989 International Convention on the Rights of the Child after they were published in the official Palestinian Gazette last July.
The Geneva-based Euro-Med Monitor said in a press release today that publishing the Convention on the Rights of the Child in the Palestinian Gazette should mark the beginning of a set of measures whose responsibility to remove any conflict between the international convention and national legislation in order for the convention’s provisions to transcend and be enforceable rests with the Palestinian Authority.
Euro-Med Monitor indicated in the letter the urgent need for the Palestinian Authority to adopt a set of laws consistent with the standards for the protection of children in all international conventions, including the 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child.
The most prominent of these laws are the Palestinian Child Law No. 4 of 2004 and its amendments, the Palestinian Labor Law No. 7 of 2000, Law No. 4 of 1999 regarding the rights of people with disabilities, the 1967 Personal Status Law, the Juvenile Protection Law, and the Penal Code No. 16 of the year 1960.
In its letter, the Euro-Mediterranean Monitor stated that one of the biggest problems facing the implementation of the international convention is the existence of parallel legislations for children that are applied in one part of the Palestinian territories and not applied in the other part.
For instance, in the West Bank, Decree-Law No. 4 of 2016 regarding juveniles is applied, while in the Gaza Strip, Juvenile Criminals Law No. 2 of 1937 is applied, an old law that does not take into account the state of legislative development regarding the rehabilitation and reintegration of children per the current international standards.
The Euro-Mediterranean Monitor’s letter pointed out that the Palestinian Authority's preparation of budgets for the children's sector without the real involvement of civil society institutions and the relevant authorities concerned with the child protection sector weakens the financial support for activities and programs that would improve the level of Palestinian children’s enjoyment of their rights and holds civil society institutions responsible for what is entrusted to the state.
The letter stated that the Palestinian President's issuance of some laws, and the Legislative Council in the Gaza Strip issuing several others, will prevent the uniform implementation of the provisions of any international agreement on the Palestinian territories.
The Euro-Mediterranean Monitor stressed in its letter the need to activate the role of the National Council for the Child to ensure that children in the Palestinian territories enjoy the rights guaranteed by the international convention, with which all national legislation covering children’s rights must comply.
The Euro-Mediterranean Monitor recommends ensuring the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child by adopting the aforementioned set of laws and ensuring that children in the Palestinian territories enjoy the set of rights stipulated in the international convention.
The Euro-Mediterranean Monitor calls for the legislative authority to be neutralized from the state of the Palestinian political division, and to find a mechanism for convening the Legislative Council to settle the legal situation in the Palestinian territories, unify the applicable laws and develop them to suit the international legislative development.