Human Rights Watch on Thursday urged UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to add Israel to an annual “List of Shame” of children’s rights violators, after more than 500 children were killed in the war in Gaza last year.
The US-based rights group called on Ban to resist pressure from Israel and the United States to keep the Israel Defense Forces off the list, which is due to be released next week.
“Secretary General Ban can strengthen child protection in war by compiling his list based on facts, not political pressure,” said Philippe Bolopion, crisis advocacy director at Human Rights Watch.
Human Rights Watch is also calling for the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas to be included, as well as armed groups in Pakistan, Thailand and India for serious violations including attacks on schools and the recruitment of child soldiers.
Some 2,100 Gazans were killed during the summer war between Israel and Hamas led-fighters, according to Palestinian tallies. Israel says up to half of those killed were fighters and blames Hamas for all civilian deaths in Gaza, since Hamas and other terror groups emplaced their military infrastructure in residential areas of the crowded enclave.
UN special representative of the secretary general for children and armed conflict Leila Zerrougui in May recommended including Israel on the list, but it was reported by Reuters last week Ban is inclined to reject the request.
The current list has 51 groups including Boko Haram and Islamic State as well as the armed forces from eight countries such as Syria, Yemen, the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan.
Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.
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