Israel may be put on UN 'list of shame' for child rights abusers

Israel may be put on UN 'list of shame' for child rights abusers
Israeli officials have been sent into a frenzy over the potential of being added to the UN "list of shame" for violations against children.
3 min read
29 May, 2024
Children in Gaza have been traumatised by Israel's indiscriminate war [Getty]

Israel faces the prospect of being placed on a UN  "list of shame" of states which kill children, The New Arab’s sister publication Al-Araby Al-Jadeed reported, citing the Hebrew Channel 13.

"A marathon of discussions are currently taking place in Israel ahead of a dramatic decision within days that will decide whether or not Israel will be listed on a blacklist of countries that kill children" the channel reported.

The report said that the Israeli army could likely be declared an entity that harms children and abuses their rights. This has caused "great concern" among senior officials as it comes amid growing worldwide outrage over Israel's war on Gaza and could harm arms supplies to the country.

The UN secretary-general publishes an annual "list of shame" which contains serious abusers of children’s rights and is a designation that lasts four years.

The list mainly focuses on those involved in child recruitment, sexual exploitation and killing of children, attacks on schools or hospitals, and other violations.

Channel 13 said Israeli officials have already started to formulate their response in case the announcement is made.

The report comes as Israel launched repeated attacks on Rafah, where hundreds of thousands of forcibly displaced Palestinians are sheltering. On Sunday, an Israeli air strike killed at least 45 Palestinians, with another 21 killed on Tuesday.

The attacks came despite the International Court of Justice (ICJ) issuing an ruling ordering Israel to stop its attack on the city of Rafah.

Last month, Philippe Lazzarini, the Commissioner-General of the UNRWA said the number of children killed in Gaza since 7 October is more than the number of children killed in four years of wars around the world combined, dubbing it a "war on children, their childhood and their future".

Israel’s war on Gaza has killed at least 36,171 Palestinians in Gaza since the start of the war and wounded at least 81,420 others. Civil defence crews estimate that thousands more victims remain trapped under the rubble, while entire neighbourhoods have been levelled by bombing.

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Last year, Human Rights Watch (HRW) stated that UN secretary general Antonio Guterres added Russia’s military forces to his list of shame, but "unfortunately, he again omitted Israel, which belongs on the list."

HRW added that the omission of Israel from the list sends a "mixed message" about the UN’s willingness to hold powerful governments to account.

"Israel’s continued omission from the list of shame does a grave disservice to Palestinian children. The secretary general’s report found Israeli forces responsible for 975 child casualties and 110 attacks on schools and hospitals in 2022," a statement from HRW said.

The rights group highlighted that Israel has never been included on the list, while other forces or groups responsible for far fewer violations have.

"Israel and other countries have resorted to aggressive lobbying and in some cases, even UN blackmail to stay off the list of the worst violators," they added.

Last year, the Palestinian foreign ministry urged the United Nations to add Israel to the list, to mark the Day of the Palestinian Child.

"The ministry reaffirms its standing request to the United Nations Secretary General [António Guterres] to comply with his obligation to list Israel, the occupying power, as a systemic violator of the rights of children," it said in a statement.

"Ignoring the compelling evidence in this regard is a grave dereliction that directly contributes to the pervasive culture of impunity that allows such atrocious violations of the rights of Palestinian children to continue without consequence."