Paris – The Francophone Association for Human Rights (AFDH) has condemned the decision taken by the UN’s Secretary-General, Antonio Gutierrez, not to include Israel and the Arab coalition participating in the war on Yemen as part of the blacklist for countries that violate children’s rights.
Taking such a biased and some would say friendly approach towards countries that are not only currently abusing the rights of children but have done so methodically and for many years now.
This decision does the UN no credit and indeed affects its credibility worldwide as a whistle blower and protector of human rights.
The Secretary-General of the United Nations has removed both Israel and Saudi Arabia (which leads the military coalition in Yemen) from the “Shame List” in his annual report on countries, groups and entities that violate the rights of children in areas of armed conflict, despite grave ongoing violations against children in Yemen and Palestine.
While the UN report does not impose any measures on the parties that are blacklisted, it aims to expose these practices to push the parties to implement measures to protect children yet despite this, the results seem suspicious and disappointing.
In a statement, the Francophone Society said, “This behavior raises the question about the extent of the commitment of the United Nations and its Secretary-General to human rights and international humanitarian law, especially in light of the grave violations committed against children, including the killing, detention and constant use of children, whether by the Israeli army in the Palestinian territories or by forces of The Saudi-led military coalition in Yemen.”
The report of the Secretary-General of the United Nations, which was released yesterday, Monday 15 June, 2020, indicated that 1,447 children were killed in Yemen by all warring parties during the past year, 222 of whom were at the hands of coalition forces, and 313 by the Houthi militia. In addition, 96 children were killed by government forces and in spite of this, while the report kept the Yemeni government and Houthi forces on the “Shame List,” it found fit to somehow exclude the Arab Military Alliance on the pretext of a “significant decrease in the number of children killed by the Arab coalition.”
The report also pointed out that the occupied Palestinian territories witnessed about 3,908 violations against children by the Israeli army last year and documented the killing of 32 children, including the maiming of about 1,539 others.
The Francophone Society added that, “The failure to include Israel and the Arab coalition in the list of shame is a disappointing step, especially since the content of the report issued by the Secretary-General of the United Nations includes details of violations against children in Yemen and Palestine, which raises fears of the existence of pressures and undue political influence which may have affected the transparency of the results taken in this regard.”
It noted that the Arab coalition forces and Israel had committed horrific killings targeting children in Yemen and Palestine. From statistics monitored by the French-speaking Association from several reports of the United Nations, the Arab coalition killed more than 2,281 Yemeni children from 2015 until the end of 2019, while the Israeli army killed more than 719 Palestinian children during the same period.
Accordingly, AFDH calls on the Secretary-General of the United Nations to re-evaluate their decision to exclude Israel and the Arab alliance from their legitimate place in the list of “shame,” especially since they have not done anything of note to merit their withdrawal from it. It must be made clear that desisting from breaking international law and respecting human rights is the only way to earn international respectability.