UN: ‘Both Israel and Hamas are violating the rights of children’

Children among the rubble of a house that was destroyed by a bombardment in Rafah, south of the Gaza Strip.© UNICEF/UNI571264/El Baba

The secretary-general of the United Nations has told its Security Council that both Israel and Hamas are violating children’s rights and leaving them exposed to danger in their war to eliminate each other.

Every year a global list of states and militias that are menacing and threatening children is drawn up by the secretary-general, and previously this ranged from the Kachin Independence Army in Myanmar to Russia over its invasion of Ukraine.

António Guterres sends the list to the Security Council and the council can then decide whether to take action. The United States is one of five veto-wielding permanent council members and has been reluctant to act against Israel, its longtime ally.

Russia is another permanent member, and when the U.N. put Russian forces on its blacklist last year for killing boys and girls and attacking schools and hospitals in Ukraine, the council took no action.

Including Israel is likely to put even more of a global spotlight on the country’s conduct of the war in Gaza and increase already high tensions in its relationship with the global body. The militant Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad groups will also be listed.

The preface of last year’s U.N. report says it lists parties engaged in “the killing and maiming of children, rape and other forms of sexual violence perpetrated against children, attacks on schools, hospitals and protected persons.”

Guterres’ office has already contacted Israel’s U.N. ambassador, Gilad Erdan, to inform him that Israel would be in the report when it is sent to the council, U.N. spokesman Stéphane Dujarric told a media gathering.

Israel reacted strongly, sending news organisations a video of Erdan berating the head of Guterres’ office – who was supposedly on the other end of a phone call – and posting it on social media.

Author: Simon Weedy

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