World News

“Israel Joins UN ‘List of Shame’ for Grave Violations Against Children in Armed Conflict”

In a significant and long-awaited move, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has included the Israeli armed forces for the first time in the “list of shame,” which identifies warring parties responsible for grave violations against children in armed conflicts worldwide. This decision comes as part of the latest annual report that highlights alarming trends in global conflicts, particularly concerning the impact on children.

The report, released in 2023, documents a staggering increase in violations, revealing that Israeli forces were accountable for 5,698 violations, including the killing and maiming of children, as well as attacks on schools and hospitals. This stark assessment follows years of advocacy and scrutiny by human rights groups, which have consistently urged the UN to address these issues comprehensively.

Furthermore, Palestinian armed groups, including Hamas’ Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad’s Al-Quds Brigades, were also added to the list for their actions resulting in child casualties and other serious violations. Hamas’ violations numbered 116, while the Al-Quds Brigades were cited for 21 violations, encompassing similar offenses.

The Secretary-General’s report underscores a disturbing global trend, with a 21 percent increase in verified grave violations compared to the previous year, totaling 30,705 incidents in 2023 alone. Shockingly, the number of children killed or maimed rose by 35 percent, highlighting the growing brutality faced by children in conflict zones worldwide.

The impact is felt most acutely in several conflict-ridden countries, where two-thirds of these violations occurred, including Israel/Palestine, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Myanmar, Somalia, Nigeria, and Sudan. In Myanmar, for instance, junta forces were implicated in the recruitment and use of over 1,000 children, a tenfold increase from the previous year. Similarly, Sudan saw a surge in atrocities committed by the Rapid Support Forces and the Sudanese Armed Forces, particularly in Darfur and Khartoum.

Notably, Russia remains on the list for its actions in Ukraine, including attacks on schools and hospitals, reinforcing the UN’s stance on holding all parties accountable regardless of their global stature.

While Secretary-General Guterres’ decision has been praised by human rights advocates, it now falls to the UN Security Council to ensure meaningful repercussions for the listed parties. Sanctions and the implementation of robust action plans to prevent further violations are crucial steps towards protecting children caught in conflict zones.

For years, criticisms have been leveled at the UN for overlooking certain parties despite evidence of their misconduct. With this latest report, Guterres has taken a decisive step towards rectifying these omissions, emphasizing the imperative to safeguard children from the horrors of war.

The international community now faces a critical juncture in ensuring that these findings translate into concrete actions that uphold the rights and safety of children worldwide. The UN’s “list of shame” serves not only as a tool for accountability but as a beacon of hope for a future where children are no longer casualties of armed conflict.

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