On Sunday 12 November the Rafto Prize 2023 was awarded to Defence for Children International-Palestine (DCIP) for their persistent work to defend and promote the rights of children living in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT).
Palestinian children, like other children around the world, have the right to be alive, have the right to be treated fairly, to live and grow up healthy, to be safe, to get education, among other basic human rights.
All photos: Ingvild Festervoll Melien/Rafto Foundation
Due to the dramatic and tragic development in Gaza and West Bank Khaled Quzmar, Director of DCIP, who should have been in Bergen to receive the Rafto Prize, have not been able to leave Ramallah. Their organization and staff are under great pressure. In Gaza their researchers and their families are trying to find shelter along with the rest of the population who has been forced to flee with no safe place to go.
- One violation of human rights does not justify another. Still, we have over the past weeks seen atrocious attacks against civilians in Gaza. Thousands of bombs have dropped where there is nowhere to run and food, medicine, water and fuel has been denied, says Jostein Hole Kobbeltvedt Executive Director of the Rafto Foundation.
For over 30 years, DCIP has investigated, documented, and pursued accountability for grave human rights violations against children. Since 7 October 10.000 civilians have been killed in Gaza, among them more than 4000 children, as a result of Israeli attacks. DCIPs work is essential for documenting the ongoing war crimes.
- In the midst of this DCIP continues to document and share the stories of gross human rights violations. On the phone from Ramallah last week DCIP director Khaled Quzmar told me that he never talks about children as numbers, but now during the last weeks he has been forced to, Kobbeltvedt continues.
An estimated 1500 people took part in the torchlight procession in solidarity with Rafto Laureate 2023 Defense for Children International - Palestine after the award ceremony. This is the biggest torchlight procession during the annual Rafto week yet.
The Rafto Prize 2023 to Defence for Children International-Palestine (DCIP)
The Rafto Prize 2023 is awarded to Defence for Children International-Palestine (DCIP) for their persistent work to defend and promote the rights of children living in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT). For over 30 years, DCIP has investigated, documented and pursued accountability for grave human rights violations against children; held Israeli and Palestinian authorities accountable to universal human rights principles; and advocated at the international and national levels to advance access to justice and protection for children.Read more about Rafto laureate 2023 DCIP