18 August 2021
United Nations Secretary General António Guterres made a statement on the global education situation earlier this month. The Covid-19 pandemic has certainly further disrupted learning, but Guterres notes that “a learning crisis existed even before the pandemic, as more than 250 million children were out of school.” The UN estimates that the pandemic has affected more than one billion students worldwide.
Palestinian students face not only the pandemic but also the Israeli occupation on their way to schools. Even though the number of violations against Palestinian children recorded might be lower this year, students in H2 still have to pass several Israeli Military checkpoints to go to school which violates the Human Rights Act part 10 article 19 that protects children from all forms of abuse and maltreatment.
Because of the value that Palestinians place on education, along with the human right of access to education, CPT Palestine has an ongoing commitment to accompany students and teachers and document the human rights violations they face. CPT resumed school accompaniment as soon as schools were back from lockdown, covering Qitoun and Salaymeh checkpoints.
Qitoun Checkpoint: Even though the plan for school day was based on a group rotation for each class, CPT noticed the reduced number of students passing through the checkpoint, which was then confirmed by a school principal.
The graph below illustrates the number of teachers and students passing the Qitoun Checkpoint. On average 13 girls and 36 boys passed through the checkpoint during the face to face school days.
Salaymeh Checkpoint: the number of students and teachers passing through the checkpoint remained at the normal average. CPT noticed that soldiers and not Border Police now monitor the checkpoint. On the days CPT monitored the checkpoint, two boys were stopped and checked, and on several occasions the checkpoint was closed, creating a delay for students and teachers.
On June 26th, 2021, a Palestinian male in his twenties, was stopped while trying to pass the checkpoint, and then as he was leaving through the electronic gate, the soldiers dropped the barrier on his head, injuring his ear.
The graph below presents the number of teachers and students passing Salaymeh Checkpoint: