· The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and the two Optional Protocols
After Palestine became party to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, it has become necessary to implement its provisions. Proceeding from the role of the Ministry of Justice in protecting rights and in assisting this group, this convention identifies the main rights of the child in 54 articles and in two optional protocols. As such, every child should be aware of his rights and governmental institutions shall strive to provide them. The four basic principles of the convention are summarized as: non-discrimination, the concerted efforts for the best interests of the child, the right to life, the inherent right to, the right to grow-up and the right to respect the opinion of the child.
· The Two Optional Protocols annexed to the Rights of the Child
The General Assembly of the United Nations adopted in 2005 the two optional protocols annexed to the Convention relating to the protection of children from sexual exploitation and the engagement in armed conflicts.
The optional protocol on the non-engagement of children in armed conflicts identifies 18 as the minimum age for military conscription and requests countries to exert maximum efforts to prohibit those under 18 from direct involvement in hostile activities.
The optional protocol on child trafficking, child prostitution, the involvement of children in porn stresses the necessity to criminalize these serious violations to the rights of the child and focuses on raising general awareness and international cooperation in the efforts aimed at combating such violations.
· General comment no (10) of 2007 – the Rights of the Child in Juvenile Justice
This comment is considered of utmost importance since it is linked to the Convention on the Rights of the Child as far as juveniles are concerned. Moreover, it also identifies the necessity to have a comprehensive national policy to address juvenile issues and to encourage the use of alternative measures to punishment that deprive of liberty, and this is what the Ministry of Justice strives for by endorsing alternative punishment and the principles of reconciliation and mediation in juvenile cases.
· The Palestinian Child Law as amended
This law is considered an important and basic law for the Palestinian child since it aims to protect the child, his proper and safe upbringing in a society that protects and enhances the rights of the child.
As such, this law is considered the foundation for building the plans that support the child and the Ministry of Justice strives to raise the child’s legal awareness of his rights provided for in this law.
This law is in harmony with the international conventions and standards on the rights of the child and takes into consideration the best interests of the child.
· Draft Law on the Palestinian Juvenile Protection
The Ministry of Justice, together with all the pertinent official bodies contributed in drafting the Draft Law on Palestinian Juvenile Protection which aims to protect the child who commits an illegal act, ensure his treatment in a way that suits his physical and mental development and that takes into consideration the privacy of the child as to the extent of his perception of the act he committed and its consequences. This draft provides for alternative punishment that deprive of freedom, and is considered of utmost importance in changing the traditional view on the juvenile from criminal to victim.
· The United Nations Rules for the Protection of Juveniles Deprived of their Liberty
These rules request that juveniles are not deprived of their liberty and that imprisonment is the last resort by countries. The rules had been organized so that they constitute convenient standards of reference and provide encouragement and guidance to those working on organizing the affairs of juvenile justice. This is what the Ministry of Justice strives for within its plans.