The United Nations has listed Russia’s military and affiliated armed groups in its “list of shame” for the killing and injuring of numerous children during its conflict with Ukraine. However, reports indicate that despite being responsible for the deaths of over forty Palestinian children last year, Israeli forces were not included in the list. Human rights organizations had repeatedly urged Israel to be added to the UN blacklist due to the killing and injuring of Palestinian children in the occupied West Bank.
Palestinian Ambassador to the UN, Riyad Mansour, criticized Antonio Guterres, the Secretary General of the United Nations, for excluding Israel from the shame list, considering it a significant mistake. In the UN’s annual report on the treatment of children in conflict zones distributed to UN Security Council members, Guterres expressed his shock at the alarming number of severe violations against children in Ukraine during 2022.
In a concerning revelation, the United Nations has added Russia’s military and its allied armed groups to its infamous “list of shame” due to their involvement in the widespread killing and injuring of hundreds of children during the Ukrainian conflict.#RussianWarCrimes #Russia pic.twitter.com/qisvJbK6ws
— News Live (@NewsLiveFree) June 23, 2023
Based on reports from news organizations that had access to the report revealed that a total of 477 children were documented as killed in Ukraine in the previous year. Of these tragic cases, 136 deaths were directly attributed to Russian forces and affiliated groups. The report also indicated that Ukrainian armed forces were responsible for the deaths of 80 children. However, for the remaining child victims, it was difficult to definitively assign blame to the entire opposing sides involved in the conflict. The UN report highlighted that most of these children died from air attacks.
Children in Conflict: UN Report Highlights Killings and Attacks
According to the UN’s recent report, it has been verified that Russian forces and affiliated groups were responsible for maiming 518 children in Ukraine while also carrying out 480 attacks on schools and hospitals. The report states that the Russian armed forces utilized 91 children as human shields.
On the other hand, Ukrainian armed forces were found to have caused injuries to 175 children and conducted 212 attacks on educational and medical facilities. Despite these findings, Ukraine’s forces were not included on the UN’s list. Guterres acknowledged a “significant reduction in the number of children killed by Israeli forces, particularly due to airstrikes,” as stated in his report compared to the previous year’s findings.
UN Report Raises Concerns Over Palestinian Children’s Killings
According to the recently released UN report, the Secretary-General expressed profound concern regarding the high number of Palestinian children who lost their lives due to actions by Israeli forces in 2022. The report reveals that 42 Palestinian children were tragically killed, and an alarming 933 children sustained injuries due to Israeli troops’ actions. Disturbingly, the previous year saw the death of 78 Palestinian children by Israeli forces. Surprisingly, Israeli has never been included on the UN’s list of nations subject to condemnation for killing children, raising questions about the selection criteria.
Controversy Over UN’s Decision on Accountability for Child Rights Violations
Human Rights Watch condemned the United Nations for adding Russia to the shame list, expressing satisfaction with the accountability measures taken. However, they strongly criticized UN Secretary-General Guterres for his decision to exclude Israel from the list, accusing him of letting down Palestinian children once again.
Jo Becker, the advocacy director for children’s rights at Human Rights Watch, highlighted the importance of holding all parties accountable for their actions, emphasizing consistency in addressing grave violations against children. Becker also raised concerns that the Secretary-General’s failure to take action against Israeli forces may have inadvertently empowered them to continue using unlawful force against Palestinian children.
In a tweet, Jo Becker highlighted the significant number of child casualties attributed to Israeli forces by the United Nations from 2015 to 2020, which totaled over 6,700. Becker further pointed out that the UN’s recent verification of 975 additional child casualties in 2022 by Israeli forces contradicts the decision to exclude Israel from the “list of shame.”
UN Secretary-General @antonioguterres has failed Palestinian children again. From 2015-2020, the UN attributed over 6,700 child casualties to Israeli forces. He has just verified 975 more in 2022. Yet he still omits Israel from his “list of shame.”https://t.co/lCMSmkR9cg pic.twitter.com/3d48AOlsvj
— Jo Becker (@jobeckerhrw) June 22, 2023
Palestinian Ambassador to the UN, Riyad Mansour, expressed deep disappointment and frustration regarding the exclusion of Israel from the UN list. Mansour emphasized that the current Israeli government, which he described as the most extreme and containing fascist elements, should have been included. He questioned the rationale behind not listing the Israeli government and emphasized the importance of holding them accountable. Mansour considered the decision unfortunate and strongly disagreed with the UN Secretary General’s choice.
Surrounds UN Report as Pressure Mounts to Exclude Saudi Arabia and Israel from “List of Shame”
The UN report has been the subject of ongoing controversy, as diplomats reveal that Saudi Arabia and Israel have been applying pressure in recent years to avoid being included in the “list of shame.” In 2020, a Saudi-led military coalition was eventually removed from the list after being initially named for causing harm to children in Yemen.
Notably, Russia’s inclusion in the list marks the first time a Security Council permanent member has been listed. Al Jazeera‘s diplomatic editor, James Bays, commented on the contentious report. While the report highlights Israel’s killing of 42 children in 2022, the Secretary-General deemed it a meaningful decline and chose not to include them in the blocklist. Bays acknowledged the differing durations of Israel’s conflicts in Gaza but emphasized that the reality is that children are still losing their lives.
— JAMES BAYS (@baysontheroad) June 22, 2023
The UN report further denounced acts of violence against children in various countries, including the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Haiti, Somalia, Syria, and other nations.