UN Blacklists Israel for Child Rights Violations in Conflict Zones Including Gaza

UN Blacklists Israel for Child Rights Violations in Conflict Zones Including Gaza

A Palestinian child escapes with her father after family was killed in an Israeli missile strike that hit their home in Gaza on 18 January 2024. (Photo: MEMO)

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has informed Major General Hidai Zilberman, Israel’s Defence Attache in the United States, of the decision to add Israel to the blacklist of entities harming children in conflict zones.

According to a report by Yedioth Ahronoth, despite significant efforts by Israel to dissuade Guterres, Israel will be included in the report set to be distributed to UN Security Council members next week, with discussions scheduled for June 26.

Israel is concerned that this inclusion might lead to an arms embargo. The annual report, authored by UN Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict, Virginia Gamba, will cover all of 2023, noting an increase in violations due to the onslaught on Gaza that began in October.

Based on data from UN agencies and field sources, being blacklisted could severely damage Israel’s reputation, as the report will be referenced across various UN bodies, including the General Assembly, Security Council, International Court of Justice (ICJ), and International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague.

The blacklist also names Afghanistan, Congo, Mali, Myanmar, Somalia, Sudan, Yemen, Syria, and groups such as Al-Qaeda, Daesh, Al-Shabaab, and Boko Haram. The report will refer to Israeli security forces without explicitly naming Israel or its military.

Practically, inclusion on the blacklist means that specific reports on Israel by the Special Representative’s office will be presented to the Security Council.

The draft report received by Israel months ago criticizes the use of large-scale bombs in occupied areas, severe blockades on Gaza, attacks on critical infrastructure, recruitment of minors as informants, and the use of children as human shields.

Last year, Human Rights Watch (HRW) criticized Guterres for including Russia’s military on his “list of shame” while omitting Israel, which HRW argued also belonged on the list. HRW stated that Israel’s exclusion sends a “mixed message” regarding the UN’s commitment to accountability.

Since October, Israel has continued its offensive on Gaza, defying a UN Security Council resolution demanding an immediate ceasefire. Over 36,600 Palestinians, mostly women and children, have been killed, and more than 83,000 have been injured. Gaza remains in ruins under a severe blockade of food, water, and medicine.

Israel faces accusations of genocide by South Africa at the International Court of Justice, which recently ordered Israel to halt its operation in Rafah, where over a million Palestinians sought refuge. Israel denies the genocide charge and has ignored the court’s rulings.

Short Link : https://prc.org.uk/en/news/6320