Date : 20 Dec 2020
Note on the Youth Sector in the Palestinian Territories in 2020
As we are leaving 2020 and as part of our follow-up of the situation of the youth sector in the occupied Palestinian territories, we found it important to brief you about the dangerous decline and the high rates of poverty, unemployment and immigration among the youth in the Palestinian territories.
We look forward to your role to ensure that young people can enjoy their right to live in safety and dignity, given the importance and value involved in the enjoyment of other rights related to it, in accordance with the rules of international human rights and international human rights law, which emphasized that young people should enjoy all rights as a means to ensure that they can live in safety and stability, including Palestinian youth, especially in the Gaza Strip, who suffer from a real and imminent threat to health, psychological and social alike, this is due to the illegal Israeli tightening of the illegal blockade on the Gaza Strip for the 14th year in a row, the repercussions of which have prolonged the economic, health and social conditions, that could constitute a threat to the Palestinian community in general, especially the Gaza Strip if the the international community did not intervene to compel the occupation authorities to shoulder their responsibilities towards the residents of the occupied territory ,the International Commission for Supporting Palestinian Rights (ICSPR) sent all the institutions of the international community Among them: Secretary-General of the United Nations , High Commissioner for Human Rights ,United Nations Peace Process Coordinator, President of the Human Rights Council , UN Special Rapporteur on human rights in the occupied Palestinian territory , UN Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health and UN Special Rapporteur on the right to development.
Youth in Palestine (18-29 years) constitute 22% of the total population, and they are about 1.14 million who make up about one-fifth of the community, (23)% in the West Bank and (22)% in the Gaza Strip. On the other hand, the gender ratio among youth was about 105 males for every 100 females. The percentage of young people with a bachelor’s degree or higher in Palestine increased from about 120 young men per thousand in 2007 to about 180 young men per thousand in 2019. The percentage of young women with a bachelor’s degree or higher increased from about 130 young women per thousand in 2007 to about 230 young women per thousand in 2019.
Several variables affected the situation of the Palestinian youth in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, whether from the Israeli occupation side and the division or in terms of the Corona pandemic as well, the conditions of youth in the West Bank and Gaza Strip were affected by the Corona pandemic, as according to the data of the Central Bureau of Statistics, the unemployment rate among youth in Palestine has reached 38% in 2019 (31% among males and 63% among females). The number of young people (18-29 years) working in the informal sector reached 123,700 workers, of whom 115,500 are males and 8,200 females. The percentage of youth working in this sector represents about 37% of the total working youth in Palestine.
Knowing that the percentage of young people working in informal employment in Palestine (meaning young people working in the unorganized sector in addition to wage employees in the organized sector who do not obtain any of the rights in the labor market, whether end of service reward/retirement, or paid annual leave, or Paid sick leave) reached 59% of all working youth, of whom 62% are males and 38% are females, 58% of them are in the West Bank and 62% in the Gaza Strip.
Their wages were affected during the crisis, and some of them were discharged from their work, and others work for half their wages due to the pandemic. The pandemic also affected young people working in the corporate sector, owners of simple projects, owners of hairdressing salons, taxi and bus drivers, owners of shops and foodstuffs and their workers. It affected the Palestinian youth who immigrated and lost their work, which prompted them to return to the country, and it also affected students who wanted to complete their education abroad.
This pandemic also affected the psychological conditions of young people, increasing the rates of violence. According to the survey of the Ministry of Women, the data also indicated that the prevalence of violence among young women who are married or previously married has increased during the pandemic, and psychological violence topped the highest rates by 56%.
In addition to the internal Palestinian division, which is considered one of the reasons that led to the increase in the suffering of Palestinian youth, through its impact on the internal conditions and increased the complexities of the rest of the sectors, and the impact on the economic and nutritional conditions of the Palestinian youth, as well as their social, psychological and health conditions; The number of young people who emigrated was about 40,000 during the year 2018, and the Statistics Agency report for 2020 stated that 24% of Palestinian youth are considering emigration due to the high unemployment rate, considering this a worrying indicator.
And the continuing violations committed by the Israeli occupation forces, as the Israeli occupation forces use different policies against youth, which are direct killing, injury, or arrest, through wars, continuous escalations, or through checkpoints, in addition to violating their other rights, such as the right to education, by bombing and storming universities, and the right to health and food through the practice of the policy of delaying the arrival of foodstuffs and the policy of the blockade on the Gaza Strip and the control of the Palestinian crossings for 14 years by controlling the materials that enter the Strip, whether food or health materials, building materials or raw materials, which affected all sectors especially the health sector, which suffers from a shortage of more than 50% of medical supplies.
We see your humanity as a banner in order to ensure that members of the international community fulfill their obligations towards the universal values of human rights that are indivisible. Therefore, we ask you to make more efforts, by taking specific measures that will protect the youth, by putting pressure on the Israeli military occupation authorities as the occupying power, in terms of its obligation to respect the rules of international law and international agreements towards civilians in the occupied territory, including ending the siege and supplying the Gaza Strip with all necessary basic necessities of life, to spare citizens the scourge of the collapse of the humanitarian situation in the Strip, and calling on the Human Rights Council to conduct investigations regarding cases of violations. We hope that you will intervene now, as Palestinian youth deserve to work for them, in order to ensure that they enjoy a safe and decent standard of living linked to the foundations and standards of human rights, and in a way that guarantees them a decent future.