Israel Joins UN ‘List of Shame’ for Abuses Against Children in War

June 19, 2024

UN Chief Also Lists Palestinian Armed Groups, Russia, Sudanese Forces

For the first time ever, the United Nations Secretary-General has added the Israeli armed forces to the “list of shame” of warring parties committing grave violations against children in armed conflict. This inclusion, although long overdue, reflects the sad reality of ongoing violence and its impact on innocent lives.

The UN had already attributed over 8,700 child casualties to Israeli forces between 2015 and 2022. However, in 2023, the scale of violations was too significant to overlook. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’ latest report documents 5,698 violations by Israeli forces, including the killing and maiming of children and attacks on schools and hospitals. The report also notes over 23,000 reported but unverified violations involving 3,900 Israeli children and 19,887 Palestinian children.

Adding further gravity to this year’s findings, Guterres also included Palestinian armed groups on his list for the first time. The Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades of Hamas and the Al-Quds Brigades of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad were cited for 116 and 21 violations, respectively, encompassing the killing and maiming of children and abductions.

Globally, the report states that in 2023, the UN verified 30,705 grave violations, a 21 percent increase from the previous year. The number of children killed or maimed surged by 35 percent over 2022. Violations include the recruitment and use of child soldiers, sexual violence, abductions, attacks against schools and hospitals, and the denial of humanitarian access.

Two-thirds of these violations occurred in six countries: Israel, Palestine, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Myanmar, Somalia, Nigeria, and Sudan. In Myanmar, for instance, junta forces documented the recruitment and use of 1,171 children, which is ten times the number recorded in 2022. In Sudan, violations spiked as the Rapid Support Forces and the Sudanese Armed Forces committed widespread atrocities, notably in Darfur and the capital, Khartoum.

Listed parties may face UN sanctions and must implement action plans to cease violations to be removed from the list. For years, human rights groups have criticized the UN Secretary-General for omitting certain parties from the “list of shame” despite substantial evidence of violations. This year, Secretary-General Guterres has taken a decisive step in the right direction.

Now, it is up to the Security Council to ensure those responsible are held accountable. Children should never be targets in armed conflicts, and the international community must make clear that such actions are unacceptable. Guterres’ report is a call to action, demanding that we protect the most vulnerable among us and affirm our commitment to human rights and justice.

Hey, like this? Why not share it with a buddy?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *