Israeli settlers exploit Palestinian children in cheap farming: HRW Report

2015-04-14 03:17:59 | Al Muslim News
Israeli settlers exploit Palestinian children in cheap farming: HRW Report


Israeli settlers in occupied Palestine’s territories are exploiting Palestinian minor for cheap labor in farming and depriving them of the opportunity to attend school. The Human Rights Watch (HRW) calling it a violation of international law.
The Human Rights Watch said the settlement farms, most of them in the Jordan Valley, employ Palestinian children. In a 74 pages report said that children as young as 11 worked on some Israeli settlement farms in the occupied West Bank under dangerous working conditions in violation of international standards on child labor, World Bulletin reported.
All Israeli settlements in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and other Palestinian territories occupied by Israel since 1967 war are illegal under international law. While the Jewish-only communities’ existence and continued settlements serve as an obstacle to peace in Middle East, impoverished Palestinians children from nearby villages often find employment there in construction and agriculture.
“Israel’s settlements are profiting from rights abuses against Palestinian children,†Sarah Leah Whitson, executive director the Middle East and North Africa division of the HRW, said.
“Children from communities impoverished by Israel’s discrimination and settlement policies are dropping out of school and taking on dangerous work because they feel they have no alternatives, while Israel turns a blind eye,†Sara Whitson said.
The children are working at low wages and in high temperatures to harvest, and pack agricultural produce, much of it for export, according the report.
The international pressure group urged all countries to end business relationships with the settlements, including imports of agricultural goods produced in these farms.
“The settlements are the source of daily abuses, including against children,†she said. “Other countries and businesses should not benefit from or support them.â€
International law views the West Bank and East Jerusalem as occupied Palestinian territories and deems any construction of Jewish settlements on the Arab land to be illegal.
UN's Middle East special envoy Robert Serry warned last month, that Israel's ongoing illegal settlement activities in these lands might have killed the possibility of reaching the two-state solution, which envisages the creation of an independent Palestinian state within pre-1967 borders, alongside Israel.
According the World Bank, Israel's restrictions on Palestinians' access to farmland and water in the West Bank cost the Palestinian economy more than $700 million each year.
The Rights group report, which features interviews with 38 children who work on settlement farms, said the children were carrying heavy loads, exposed to hazardous pesticides, and in some cases have to pay themselves for medical treatment for work-related injuries and illnesses.
Nearly the entire children interviewed said they felt they had no alternative source but to find work on settlement farms to help support their poor families.
It said the children suffered nausea and dizziness, and some passed out while working in summer temperatures that frequently exceeded 40 degrees Celsius outdoors.
"Other children said they had experienced vomiting, breathing difficulties, sore eyes, and skin rashes after spraying or being exposed to pesticides, including inside enclosed spaces. Some complained of back pain after carrying heavy boxes filled with produce or 'backpack' containers of pesticide," the HRW said.


Tags: #Middle-East #Arab-World #Israel #Palestine #

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