This report is part of CRIN's access to justice for children project, looking at the status of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) in national law, the status of children involved in legal proceedings, the legal means to challenge violations of children’s rights and the practical considerations involved in challenging violations.
The ‘non-member observer State’ status granted to Palestine at the United Nations in November 2012 accords it the capacity to join various international conventions. Pursuant to this newly acquired status, on 2 April 2014, the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) acceded to the CRC. On the same day, it also acceded to the Optional Protocol on the Rights of the Child on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict. Accession to the CRC signifies the PNA's intention to be legally bound by the terms of the CRC, within the limited scope of its executive powers in the OPT. Children under the age of fifteen are permitted to bring an action before court but must do so through a guardian. Religious courts have jurisdiction over religious and personal matters and are under no obligation to consider the CRC when passing judgment; however, a recent internal memorandum from the Chief Islamic Justice has encouraged these judges to take children’s rights into consideration. As the Occupied Palestinian Territory remains under Israeli occupation, considerable obstacles to the rule of law exist and addressing these remains the PNA’s priority.