Education and Human Rights

Defending the rights of children in the Gaza Strip

Wednesday 7 May 2003

All the versions of this article: [English] [français]

Context:

Since 1947, those living in the occupied territories of Palestine have been subjected to deplorable social and economic conditions. Making matters worse is that the region is in a perpetual state of insecurity and violence. To the military conflict with Israel, that has often led to the repression and violation of human rights by the state of Israel, add the repression and violation of human rights of Palestinians by the Palestinian Authority.

The consequence of this noxious climate on community members is behaviour that is often strained and violent. The children, who are raised in a world where brushes with weapons and mortality are part of their daily lives, tend to mimic these behaviours to solve their conflicts or resolve their problems.

Project:

This is why Alternatives’ Palestinian partner, The Teacher Creativity Center, holds the integration of human rights, children’s rights, issues of gender and democratic values in the school curriculum not as a simple project to enact, but rather as a challenge that must be risen to by Palestinian society in its entirety.

There is also a need to preserve the dignity and self-esteem of each Palestinian, and to build a wholesome, non-violent scholastic environment within the specific context of the occupied territories of Palestine.

Above all, the goal of this project is to inform the teachers as much as the students of the fact that the rights of children are an integral part of human rights. This will ensure that they will be better able to promote and protect them.

This Alternatives project was made possible by the cooperation of the Palestinian Legislative Council, the Palestinian Authority Ministry of Education, and the Junior Scientist Club. It is comprised of three phases:

Firstly, there are training seminars for the teachers of the six public, private, and United Nations schools of Ramallah and Rafah on: 1) the parliamentary system and how it works, 2) the law and concepts of citizenship, and 3) human rights, especially those of children.

Secondly, there is a summer camp for the students of participating schools. These camps include formal learning sessions, group work, games and activities, and, at the end of the camp, the organisation of a student parliament. The camp is designed to teach children about their rights, as well as the people and organisations who are able to help protect them and how.

Finally, exchanges between members of the Legislative Council and the students are arranged in order to foster communications and relationships between the two groups.

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