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UN adds Israeli military to global list of violations against children

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres has added Israel’s military to a global list of offenders who have committed rapes against children, Israel’s UN emissary Gilad Erdan said.

Erdan said he was officially notified of the decision this Friday (7). The Israeli described the measure as “shameful”.

Hamas and Islamic Jihad will also be listed, a diplomatic source said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The global list is included in a report on children and armed conflict due to be presented to the UN Security Council on June 14.

The report covers six violations – murder and mutilation, sexual violence, abduction, recruitment and use of children, denial of access to aid and attacks on schools and hospitals. It was not immediately clear which violations were listed by Israel, Hamas or Islamic Jihad.

Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz said the decision would impact the country’s relations with the United Nations.

“Israel has long had contentious relations with the UN, which only worsened during the Israel-Hamas war in the Gaza Strip,” Katz said.

Israel’s envoy said he was notified by Guterres’ chief of staff and posted a video on social media of his response to the decision in a phone call.

“I am completely shocked and disgusted by this shameful decision by the Secretary-General,” Erdan said.

“The Israeli army is the most moral army in the world, so this immoral decision will only help the terrorists and reward Hamas,” he added.

Guterres spokesman Stephane Dujarric declined to comment.

The UN said last month that at least 7,797 children were killed in Hamas-ruled Gaza during the eight-month war, citing data on identified bodies from the Gaza Health Ministry that the UN considers reliable.

The Gaza government’s media office says that in total around 15,500 children were killed.

According to Israel’s National Council for Children, 38 children were killed in the Hamas-led attack on October 7 that triggered the war. The department also claims that 42 of the approximately 250 people taken hostage in Gaza on October 7 were children.

All but two of the children were released.

UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said Guterres’ chief of staff called Erdan this Friday (7) as “a courtesy granted to the countries recently listed in the report’s annex.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement that the UN “added itself to the black list of history when it joined those who support the Hamas killers.”

Guterres’ annual report to the 15-member Security Council on children and armed conflict covers killings, mutilations, sexual abuse, abduction or recruitment of children, denial of access to aid and attacks on schools and hospitals.

It was not immediately clear what violations Israel’s military was accused of committing.

The list is divided into parties that have implemented measures to protect children and parties that have not.

The Israeli spokesman said he was informed that Israel was included in the list of parties that did not implement adequate measures to protect children.

The report was compiled by Virginia Gamba, Guterres’ special representative for children and armed conflicts.

The list attached to the report aims to pressure parties to the conflict to implement measures to protect children.

On Thursday (6), Guterres condemned an Israeli airstrike on a UN school in the Gaza Strip, according to spokesman Stephane Dujarric.

Israel is retaliating against Hamas, which rules Gaza, over an October 7 attack.

More than 1,200 people have been killed and more than 250 taken hostage by Hamas, according to Israeli records. More than 100 hostages are believed to remain captive in Gaza.

Israel launched an air, land and sea attack on the blockaded Palestinian territory, killing more than 36,000 Palestinians, according to Gaza health authorities.

A spokesman for Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said the UN decision was “a step in the right direction to hold Israel accountable for its crimes” and that Israel should have been added a long time ago.

The move comes nine years after the UN special envoy for children and armed conflict recommended that Israel and Hamas be added to the list of violations during the 2014 war in Gaza, when 540 children were among more than 2,100 Palestinians killed.

Then-UN chief Ban Ki-moon ultimately did not add Israel or Hamas to the list of offenders, even though the report was highly critical of Israel during the 50-day conflict.

Russia’s military was added to the list last year for killing and maiming children in Ukraine, attacking schools and hospitals and using children as human shields. Russia has denied targeting civilians since it invaded Ukraine on February 24, 2022.

A Saudi-led military coalition – listed for killing and injuring children in Yemen – was delisted in 2020, several years after it was first named for killing and injuring children in the country.

Source: CNN Brasil

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