Children, human rights organisations, and the law under occupation: The case of palestinian children in east jerusalem

Bella Kovner*, Nadera Shalhoub-Kevorkian

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


This article discusses the (im)possibility of human rights organisations and state judicial actors’ success in safeguarding of children’s rights in Occupied East Jerusalem (OEJ). Considering Israel’s political reality, and consequently, the Israeli justice system’s mode of operation and treatment of Palestinian children, we argue that civil society actors, particularly those dealing with children, are unable to challenge violations of Palestinian children’s rights. Our analyses of media coverage, key informant interviews, and focus group and round table discussions reveals that formal and informal socio-legal systems are failing in their mandate to protect children’s rights, challenge the state’s biased juvenile justice system, and prevent the racialised state from breaching local laws and ethical and international standards. Instead of challenging the systems that are embedded within the settler-colonial setting, human rights organisations reinforce the state’s control by operating within its systems and according to its rules. In so doing, these entities help the state in keeping Palestinian children under conditions of suffering within their ‘otherised’ spaces.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)616-639
Number of pages24
JournalInternational Journal of Human Rights
Issue number5
StatePublished - 28 May 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


  • Child arrest
  • Human rights organisations
  • Juvenile justice
  • Occupied East Jerusalem
  • Palestinian children


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