Thursday, June 13, 2024

UN adds Israel to ‘blacklist’ of countries harming children in conflict

United Nations on Friday added Israel’s military to a global list of offenders that have committed violations against children after killing thousands of children in Gaza, Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’s spokesman confirmed.

Israel had been told it is being placed on the list in the secretary-general’s annual report on children in armed conflict, to be sent to the UN Security Council next Friday, Stephane Dujarric told a press briefing.

Israeli Ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan said he received official notification of UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’s decision.

Dujarric added that the Israeli UN mission was called by Guterres’ chief of staff on Friday, a courtesy afforded to newly listed countries. “It is done to give those countries a heads-up and avoid leaks,” he said.

The annual report on children in armed conflict compiles “a list of parties engaging in violations against children”, including killing and maiming, sexual violence and attacks on schools and hospitals.

Senior Palestinian official Riad Malki welcomed the UN’s decision on Friday, saying that the move is overdue.

“Now, faced with the catastrophe in Gaza that the world sees with its naked eyes with the genocide that specifically targets children and women, the UN secretary general no longer has excuses not to place Israel on the blacklist,” Malki said in a statement.

Rights groups have condemned the dire toll Israel’s bombardment and siege of Gaza has had on Palestinian children across the enclave.

More than 36,700 Palestinians have been killed in Israeli attacks since early October, including 15,571 children, according to the Gaza health ministry.

UNICEF, in a report earlier this week, said nine in 10 Palestinian children in Gaza were living in “severe child food poverty, surviving on diets comprising two or fewer food groups per day – one of the highest percentages ever recorded.”

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