Call on UNICEF to Demand the End of the use of Palestinian Child Soldiers #KidsNotSoldiers

UNICEF must demand that Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, PFLP, and PLO operate in accordance with the 2007 Paris Principles, and end the systemic use of Palestinian children in military efforts of any type.

The systemic use of Palestinian children by these organizations includes but is not limited to: combatants, terrorists, riot skirmishers, couriers, spies, lookouts, munitions smugglers, military labourers, and militarized and radicalized education that facilitates recruitment and use.

For decades, the plight of Palestinian children has largely been ignored by the global community. These children have fulfilled the roles of combatants, human shields, rioters, laborers, support staff, and even suicide bombers. As a result, their childhoods have been shortened by death, severe injury, or imprisonment. Neglect and token condemnation of this issue has emboldened organizations such as Hamas, PLO, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and PFLP in their exploitation of children as war resources.

These organizations expose Palestinian children to inciting and violent children’s shows, and flood social media with calls for jihad and terrorism. When the children are older they’re sent out to partake in violent riots and to act as human shields, as thousands of others have before them. Many children have also been recruited into terrorist activity, sent to stab people in the street or become suicide bombers. Still others are sent to work in the attack tunnels, digging in unsafe conditions. In disregard for these deaths and injuries, Palestinian children continue to be recruited. It has been estimated that 10,000 minors are trained in terrorist camps in Gaza each year.

While this situation is dire, there is also hope. If awareness is brought to this issue, terrorist organizations will feel less secure in using child soldiers, and will ultimately be pressured into abandoning and renouncing the strategy. UNICEF is a world leader in the rights of children. It must take a strong stand against systemic Palestinian child militancy. Not doing so would be a moral failure.

By sending this email, you can ask UNICEF to be on the right side of history, and stop this child abuse!