Palestinian children in the occupied Gaza Strip are experiencing a rapid deterioration in their mental health, a new study by the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) has found.
According to the NRC, the survey found that 68 per cent of schoolchildren “in areas close to the Israeli perimeter fence have clear indications of psychosocial distress”.
NRC added that “children have also reported witnessing the violence first hand, as well as knowing people who have been injured, killed or lost their homes”
“A worrying 54 per cent said they had no hope for a brighter future”, the international NGO reported, while “the study also revealed that a staggering 81 per cent of children struggle academically due to conflict-related stress.”
“We call on all responsible parties to the conflict to respect the rights to peaceful assembly and expression, take urgent action to halt the killing and maiming of protestors and ensure accountability for violations of international law,” said O’Rourke.
NRC also stressed the impact of an ongoing “Israeli siege” of the Gaza Strip, under which 54 per cent of the population is now unemployed, 53 per cent live in poverty, “and food insecurity has spiralled to 68 per cent”.
“Gaza, like the rest of the occupied Palestinian territory, desperately needs a just and lasting political solution, including for Palestine refugees, which places the lives, welfare, and dignity of both Palestinians and Israelis at its center,” said O’Rourke.