In all actions concerning children, whether undertaken by public or private social welfare institutions, courts of law, administrative authorities or legislative bodies, the best interests of the child shall be a primary consideration.
- UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, article 3
In ordinary times, participants in the Rights of Youth at Risk Clinic offers legal aid and representation, run programs and youth centers, and advocate for policy reforms.
Yet these are not ordinary times. Without detracting from the Coronavirus as a public health threat, the pandemic has also claimed many social casualties. Some of its first victims were at-risk youngsters, whose already precarious position was further destabilized as Israel geared towards a shut-down. During the first shutdown (March-May 2020), the Rights of Youth at Risk Clinic rose to the occasion - more than once.
Contesting Fines for Being Outdoors
During the lock-down citizens were required to stay within 100 meters of their homes. For at-risk children, home may be an unstable, unsafe, or even non-existent place. As a result, many of these youngsters were fined hundreds of shekels for being outside. Besides an utter lack of understanding of these children’s circumstances, these fines are astronomically high for families who may rely on public housing or cannot always afford food. Adv. Shiran Reichenberg, who heads the clinic, along with others helped approximately 25 children combat their fines. Six months later, they have heard nothing. Recently, the clinic filed an official request with the police demanding an explanation where things stand.
"We shine the spotlight on those children and youngsters who are otherwise invisible – Corona or no Corona. Yet today their rights are being violated more than ever, and they are in dire need of protection. The Clinic’s role is to protect these children and speak up on their behalf."
- Adv. Shiran Reichenberg, Head of the Rights of Youth at Risk Clinic
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