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Israel & Hamas placed on UN list for violating children's rights

June 12th, 2024 | Tags:
The conflict in Gaza has led to a 155% increase in grave violations against children, the report said. Photo: Getty Images

The United Nations has added Israel's military, Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad's armed wing for the first time to its list of offenders for violating children’s rights.

The three entities, along with Sudan's warring parties, have been singled out for the killing and maiming of children.

“Children were killed and maimed in unprecedented numbers", the Children in Armed Conflict report said.

The annual report - seen by the BBC and due to be released on Thursday - is meant to shame parties so that they commit to measures outlined by the UN to protect children.

UN Secretary General António Guterres said the conflict between Israel and Palestinian groups has led to grave violations on an unprecedented scale and intensity, notably in Gaza.

"Children bore the brunt of multiplying and escalating crises that were marked by a complete disregard for child rights, notably the inherent right to life," the report said.

The report said the conflict in Gaza has led to a 155% increase in what it categorised as "grave violations" against children.

The UN verified more than 8,000 grave violations against 4,247 Palestinian children and 113 Israeli children in 2023, the report said.

But verification is ongoing with thousands of reports about children dead and injured still needing to be checked.

"Most incidents were caused by the use of explosive weapons in populated areas by Israeli armed and security forces," the report states.

Israel's UN envoy Gilad Erdan said last week he had been notified that Israel's military had been added to the list, saying he was "shocked and disgusted by this shameful decision".

Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad were also put on the list for killing, injuring and abducting children.

The two groups – which are designated as terrorist organisations by Israel, the UK and other countries - are yet to comment on the report.

Israel launched its offensive after Hamas attacked communities near Gaza on 7 October last year, killing about 1,200 people including 38 children and taking 251 hostages including 42 children, according to Israel's National Council for the Child.

The Hamas-run health ministry in Gaza says 36,731 people have since been killed by Israeli bombardment and ground attacks.

Sudan's warring factions were also mentioned prominently.

The report placed the Sudanese army as well as the rival Rapid Support Forces (RSF) on the blacklist for "the killing and maiming of children, and for attacks on schools and hospitals".

The two parties have been embroiled in a civil war for more than 14 months.

The UN said it has seen a "staggering" 480% increase "in grave violations against children" in Sudan.

The RSF paramilitary force was listed for recruiting children and for "rape and other forms of sexual violence against children".

While the Sudanese Armed Forces were singled out for the killing and maiming of children "at unprecedented levels", including through "the use of explosive weapons with wide-area effects, including in highly-populated areas".

The Russian military and "affiliated armed groups" remained on the blacklist for killing 80 children in Ukraine in 2023 and injuring 339.

Some of the gravest violations were also verified in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Myanmar, Somalia, and Nigeria.

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