Minnesota State Representative campaigns for special envoy for Palestinian children
Minnesota State Representative Betty McCollum penned a letter to President Barack Obama, on April 28, pushing him to instate a Special Envoy for Palestinian Children.
The envoy would monitor and analyze data on developments of the Palestinian children within the territories, and ensure that both the Israeli and Palestinian governments are held accountable to their expectations under international law.
In the letter, McCollum asserted that the “dehumanizing military occupation…severely limits basic opportunities and instills a sense of hopelessness.”
She demanded that Palestinian children “be treated with dignity and respect for their inherent human rights.” The letter asked for an envoy to travel to the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Israel to speak with Palestinian children, legal experts on human rights, Palestinian and Israeli officials, and NGOs.
McCollum writes that such a program will assure that the human rights of Palestinian children are made a priority by the Department of State, and hopes to set up a coherent system of communication and engagement for the next U.S. administration. The letter is meant to send a clear message to Congress that the rights of Palestinian children, and the enforcement of humane policies by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, should always remain a priority for the U.S. government and its people.
McCollum, along with eighteen of her colleagues, sent a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry last year urging the State Department to pressure the Israeli government to end its military’s systematic corruption of power. She shone a bright spotlight on the abuse of Palestinian children in Israeli detention centers, where they are frequently violated and refused communication with others outside of the prisons. She labeled these actions as “an indefensible abuse of human rights”, and demanded “Palestinian children should be treated exactly the same as Israeli or American children, without the fear that one day soldiers will arrest them, beat them, and lock them away in prison.”
The Israeli government has held an average of 201 Palestinian children in detention centers each month since 2011, and continues to do so, with a total of 440 children imprisoned as of February. If you would like to support this campaign, you can sign onto the letter here.