UN condemns death of 3 children in Gaza due to persistent Israeli delays in granting exit permits to access urgent medical treatment
Translated and edited by: Committee for Justice
Geneva: 6 June 2022
UN experts condemn the death of three children from Gaza, after the persistent delays by the government of Israel in granting them or their companions exit permits to access urgent medical treatment outside Gaza, as well as refusals and failure by hospitals in the West Bank and Gaza to provide them with appropriate treatment.
Denying access to appropriate medical care
The experts indicated in their memorandum sent to the Israeli authorities, on April 7, 2022, which has not been responded to yet, that adequate healthcare and medical treatment are often inaccessible and unavailable for the population in the Gaza Strip, given its weak and fragile healthcare system.
The experts added that Gazans who wish to access basic health care outside Gaza are required to obtain permits from the Israeli authorities to leave Gaza, as well as medical referrals from the Palestinian authorities, through lengthy and complex procedures.
It was reported that an increasing number of medical patients in Gaza were not able to obtain exit permits in a timely manner. According to the World Health Organization, in 2020 and 2021, the Israeli authorities approved only 68 and 63 percent of requests for exit permits from Gaza respectively, the rest of the applications were rejected or significantly delayed, which prevented Gazan patients from obtaining life-saving treatment and contributed to deaths in some cases.
Deaths due to prolonged and complex procedures
The memorandum highlighted the case of the boy, Saleem Omar Saleem El Nawati (16 years old), from Gaza, was diagnosed with leukaemia in Gaza, and who died on January 8, 2022, due to the prolonged and complex procedures. Another case of the 14-year-old boy, Lo’ay Mohammad Rawhat Migbal Al Taweel Nawati, a refugee from Al Nuiserate camp in the central Gaza Strip, who was diagnosed with brain cancer at Al Hayat Specialized Hospital in Gaza. Nawati sought a medical referral to hospitals in the West Bank and East Jerusalem for specialized treatment, but the treating physician at Al Hayat Specialized Hospital allegedly failed to promptly sign “Form 1”, necessary for Lo’ay’s medical referral. Lo’ay died on March 8, 2022.
UN demands from the Israeli authorities
The experts called on the Israeli authorities to provide information on procedures and criteria for determining approval of an exit permit for children from Gaza to the West Bank for medical treatment, as well as information on procedures and criteria for determining approval of an exit permit for adult companions of children from Gaza in need of medical care in the West Bank.
The experts also called on Israel to provide detailed information on the policies and other measures adopted to protect against potential violations of the right to life of children residing in Gaza who have been diagnosed with a serious health condition, which may arise from the Israeli authorities’ refusal of exit permits.