MECA Responds to UN Report on Children and Armed Conflict
The United Nations' report on Children and Armed Conflict was released on Tuesday by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. The report, which covers the period of January-December 2011, focuses on 22 countries in which children are subjected to gruesome violence and human rights violations.
With much of the media's attention on Syria, we at MECA cannot remain silent as shocking images of violence against children continue to surface. We would like to express our utmost concern for the plight of the Syrian children, who are caught in the midst of what is now a 15-month long conflict. An estimated 1,000 children have been killed in the fighting, according to regional analysts and children's rights advocates. Additionally, tens of thousands of Syrians have now become refugees in their own country as well as in neighboring countries, and we are worried about the safetey and well-being of these children and their families.
In recent years, MECA's work to improve the lives of children has extended to Palestinian refugee camps in Syria, where we've built playgrounds and sports facilities. But while much of our work has been to educate the public on Palestinian children who suffer daily under brutal Israeli policies and occupation, we are also concerned about children in Syria who are innocent victims of the fighting there, as well as children in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan who continue to suffer as a result of U.S. invasion and military operations, respectively.
As the situation in Syria deteriorates into what many fear will become a civil war, pressure should be placed on all sides to protect the rights of children and ensure their safety.
Unfortunately, for political reasons, Western media has neglected the atrocities that the Israeli government and violent Israeli settlers continue to perpetrate against Palestinian children on a daily basis. We would like to call your attention to that section of the report which documents such incidents over the past year.
We encourage you as a supporter of children's rights to continue to call upon the U.S. administration and congress to oppose all forms of discrimination and abuse against Palestinian families and children by the Israeli army and settlers.