The voluntary organization Hostages and Missing Families Forum, which was established to represent and aid the hostages and their families, said children and youths who are Hamas captives in Gaza are exposed to extreme dangers, both physical and emotional.
The volunteer medical professionals from a variety of fields have established a medical and resilience team for protecting the health of the hostages and their families. The medical team is headed by Prof. Hagai Levine, a leading epidemiologist and chairman of the Israel Association of Public Health Physicians.
The medical team collected data regarding the hostages’ medical backgrounds through a series of interviews with their family members and received medical files that represent a sample of the hostages or missing persons’ medical information.
“Numerous horrific visuals were released of the brutal acts of violence and torture of innocent children, murder of babies, violent rape of young women, and brutal executions. Entire communities and families have been broken and separated. We can’t save those who have been murdered, but we can still save the ones kidnapped. Video footage indicates that the October 7 massacre specifically targeted women and young girls, children, and infants. These constitute multiple war crimes, and crimes against humanity under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.”
They noted that infants, children, and adolescents are at an extremely high risk for physical violence and abuse, including sexual abuse, mutilation, humiliation, and long-term physical damage. On top of that, children and infants – toddlers in particular – are prone to extreme psychological anguish and developmental delay due to the circumstances described above in addition to having to witness family members being tortured and killed, as well as the low quality of nutrition and hygiene expected during their captivity, and due to their separation from their parents, family and familiar surroundings.”
Hostages and Missing Families Forum has information on most child hostages
According to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), given the particular vulnerability of children, the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and their Additional Protocols of 1977 lay down a series of rules regarding special protection for children.
The UN Security Council has identified and condemned grave violations against children in times of war and armed conflicts: Killing and maiming of children; rape or other grave sexual violence; abduction of children; and denial of humanitarian access for children. All these have been documented and curtained in the October 7 massacre, said the Hostages and Missing Families Forum. “It is a complete disgrace that the ICRC was not able to visit and confirm a sign of life, their physical and medical condition, and their whereabouts until this very day. “
As of November 20, the forum has obtained information regarding most of the children abducted to Gaza. These include children of all ages: one infant, now 10 months old, children aged three to five years old, children aged six to 12, and adolescents 13 to 17 years old. All those held hostage are at high risk by all standards of human rights to health, education, and life.
The forum can be reached at Med@bringthemhomenow.net