To the dismay of Palestine’s delegation to the United Nations, Secretary-General António Guterres did not include Israel in his new “list of shame”, which includes states committing grave violations against children, despite the figures and statistics in the report about serious violation of rights of children in Palestine, said Riyad Mansour, Palestine’s permanent representative to the UN.
The UN Security Council held yesterday in New York an open debate on the annual UN report on situation of children in times of conflict, which Guterres released on Wednesday.
According to the report, the number of Palestinian children killed or injured reached its highest level in 2018 since 2014. It said 59 were killed in 2018, 56 of them by the Israelis army, nearly a four-fold increase over 2017. In the West Bank, Israeli forces injured 1,398 children in 2018, while in Gaza they injured 1,335 children. The Injuries included permanent disabilities and limb amputations.
It also said 203 children are held in Israeli prisons, most of them in administrative detention, without charge or trial. By the end of December 2018, 87 children were sentenced to serve time in Israeli prisons for resisting the occupation, said the report, and these children are subjected to harsh conditions of detention and ill-treatment.
“The UN secretary-general should include Israel in the ‘list of shame’ and add it to the countries that commit horrendous acts, especially against children,” said Mansour before the start of the session.
He said that by not including Israel on the list undercuts efforts to put an end to the criminal violations against children around the world and questions the credibility of the list while making it open for criticism and endangers the lives of Palestinian children due to the lack of any kind of accountability to Israel.
Gutierrez instructed his personal representative, Virginia Gamba, to visit the region and occupied Palestine to further investigate what came in the report regarding the injuries and maiming of Palestinian children.
The Palestinian delegation called on Guterres to take into account that the Israeli violations in Palestine were caused by the military occupation, which should be mentioned in the section on Palestine in the report, and to make sure that Israeli practices amount to collective punishment, particularly the blockade imposed on the Gaza Strip since 2006.
They also said that since 2000, Israel, the occupying Power, had arrested 10,000 Palestinian children.
“We call on the international community to save an entire generation. The difficult circumstances, humiliation, panic and trauma caused by the detention of the Palestinian child are impeding society and aim at weakening it,” said the delegation.
It attributed Israel’s persistence in its inhuman practices to its enjoyment of international impunity, which protects it from sanctions and accountability.
Human Rights Watch has also criticized the UN secretary-general for not including Israel in the list.
“The UN secretary-general simply refuses to hold to account all warring parties that have inflicted tremendous suffering on children,” said Jo Becker, children’s rights advocacy director at Human Rights Watch. “By listing selected violators but not others, Secretary-General Guterres is ignoring the UN’s own evidence and undermining efforts to protect children in conflict.”
Guterres failed to list the Israeli army in the new report as responsible for grave violations against children, including killing and maiming, despite considerable evidence of violations by these parties, said HRW in a press release issued last week.
“Previous reports have also found the Israel Defense Forces responsible for killing and maiming Palestinian children, but the secretary-general has yet to include the Israeli forces in his list of abusers,” it said.
Aug. 3, 2019