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Remarks at the Opening of the Exhibit: “Palestinian Children: Overcoming Tragedies with Hope, Dreams, Resilience and Dignity”, Under-Secretary-General Jeffrey Feltman

23 Nov 2015 - 17:14

It is an honour to be invited by the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People on the occasion of the Observance of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.

My Department, through the Division for Palestinian Rights, provides substantive support to help the Committee implement its mandate. That mandate is to raise international awareness on the question of Palestine and on the urgency of finding a peaceful settlement to this question on the basis of international law and United Nations resolutions.

I wish to thank the Committee for organising this photo exhibit. These powerful photographs feature child victims of the hostilities in Gaza who are still suffering from the slow reconstruction of the territory. In Gaza, children older than six have already endured three conflicts. Children aged 9 or less have only known life in Gaza under the blockade.

Today, as we observe the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, it is also worth recalling that on 20 November, we commemorated Universal Children’s Day. The majority of the Palestinian population is made up of youth. I urge Member States not to lose sight of the impact conflicts have on children in particular, not only owing to the physical and psychological traumas, but also for the loss of hope they bring about. That hopelessness has political, long-term repercussions. We all must protect children caught up in conflict. This is an obligation under international humanitarian, human rights norms and refugee law. It is our obligation as human beings.

This exhibit is primarily a much needed reminder of this collective responsibility to protect the most vulnerable populations from the scourge of war. But it  is also a reminder that it is past time for the international community to assume its responsibility to help bring about a peaceful solution to the question of Palestine.