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World Children’s Day, a tragic one in Gaza!

World Children’s Day, a tragic one in Gaza!

By Nourhan Nomier
on November 23, 2023

World Children’s Day is a beautiful day that comes every year on the 20th of November to celebrate all the efforts made to protect a child’s wellbeing all over the world. This day is always different for a Palestinian child. But let’s have a look at what it has been for a child in Gaza in 2023, more in particular in the past month and a half.

First some brief info though on the day’s origins and what the rights of a child should, ideally, include.  The day was originally proposed in the UN General assembly on 20th November 1959 to celebrate the Geneva Declaration of the Rights of the Child . Below you find the declaration statement. Do have a look and imagine what a perfect world for a child should be like.

“Geneva Declaration of the Rights of the Child”

By the present Declaration of the Rights of the Child, commonly known as “Declaration of Geneva,” men and women of all nations, recognizing that mankind owes to the Child the best that it has to give, declare and accept it as their duty that, beyond and above all considerations of race, nationality or creed:

  1. The child must be given the means requisite for its normal development, both materially and spiritually;
  2. The child that is hungry must be fed; the child that is sick must be nursed; the child that is backward must be helped; the delinquent child must be reclaimed; and the orphan and the waif must be sheltered and succored;
  3. The child must be the first to receive relief in times of distress.
  4. The child must be put in a position to earn a livelihood and must be protected against every form of exploitation.
  5. The child must be brought up in the consciousness that its talents must be devoted to the service of fellow men.”

The declaration indeed aims to ensure the well-being of multiple aspects of a child’s life and requires us to be vigilant about them ànd protect them.

Some data on the situation of children in Gaza on “World Children’s Day”

(Figures below refer to the situation before the temporary ceasefire)

Almost half of Gaza’s population are children. By 20 November, 5500 Palestinian children had been killed by the IDF, since the 7th of October.

More than 22,000 children in Gaza are now orphans.

A child is killed every 10 minutes in Gaza right now.

More than 1800 kids remain lost under the rubble in Gaza.

Thousands of injured children don’t have access to medicine and undergo amputation surgeries  without anesthesia.

Thousands have nothing warm to wear to protect them from winter’s cold. There is a shortage of food and water, and the threat of disease.

31 premature babies at imminent risk of death were relocated from Al-Shifa hospital.

The two biggest children hospitals in Gaza were bombed  on Friday.

On the 22Nd of November, the head of UNICEF called Gaza the most dangerous place in the world for a child.

This is a small glimpse of the ongoing struggle of the children of Gaza and what World Children’s Day has been for them this year. The UN Secretary-General warned that the Gaza Strip was becoming a “a graveyard for children”.

The children of Gaza have been deprived of everything to survive.

Amidst the current loss, tens of thousands of children in Gaza face an uncertain future. I feel powerless, unable to comprehend and reflect on our true role as public health and global health professionals. We must always talk about the struggle and demand their rights. Let’s hope the current temporary ceasefire can turn into a sustainable one, and hopefully in the medium term lasting peace. The children of Gaza require no less.

How can we remain silent when everyone of us has their own platform and voice!

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