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UN's Guterres leaves Israel off list of child killers

UN Secretary-General Guterres accused of 'hypocrisy' after leaving Israel off annual list of child killers
3 min read
28 June, 2023
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has left Israel off an annual 'list of shame' of child killers despite an ongoing series of Israeli attacks on Palestinian cities which have killed and injured scores of children.
Guterres was accused of hypocrisy by human rights groups [Getty]

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has again excluded Israel from the annual List of Shame in his report on the killing and injuring of children in global conflicts, despite the continued Israeli killings of Palestinian children and minors. 

Several other violators of children’s human rights such as Saudi Arabia have been omitted from the list. The report will be presented to the UN Security Council next month by Virginia Gamba, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict. 

Secretary-General Guterres has sole discretion in determining which countries are included in the list. In contrast to the list, which is presented at the end of the report, Gamba's report and office provide detailed documentation of verified violations, which include those of Israel. 

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Human rights officials criticised the omission, while Gamba failed to give a satisfying explanation in her remarks to reporters. 

“I believe that the non-inclusion of parties on the list this year is related to the issue of the cooperation of the parties,” said Gamba in remarks carried by The New Arab’s Arabic-edition. 

Human Rights Watch, for instance, said the failure to include influential countries and their allies on the list undermines the report's credibility. 

Guterres included Russia on the list for the first time due to its violations against children in the course of its ongoing invasion of Ukraine.

This marks the first instance of a permanent member of the Security Council being included in the List of Shame, despite other countries such as the United States and Britain being responsible for violations against children in their wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. 

“Unfortunately, [UN Chief Antonio Guterres] again omitted Israel, which belongs on the list. This sends a mixed message about the UN’s willingness to hold powerful governments accountable,” said Jo Becker, Advocacy Director in HRW’s Children's Rights Division

Kenneth Roth, Former Executive Director of Human Rights Watch heavily criticised the move by the UN on Twitter, claiming that the UN is not standing up to "an abuser with powerful friends". 

Israel has continued to launch deadly raids and airstrikes in the West Bank and Gaza, killing and injuring thousands of civilians including children.

In 2022, Israelis forces killed 151 Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and injured 9,875 whilst also damaging or destroying 1,700 homes in Gaza according to Amnesty’s yearly report. Over 180 Palestinians are believed to have been killed this year, after a far-right government came to power.

Israel has also continued with forced evictions, arbitrary detention and restrictions on movement as well as further violations against children.