NAN – UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, has left Israel and Palestinian militant group, Hamas off his list of states and groups that violate children’s rights.
Ban excluded the two countries in spite of insistence by human rights groups that called for Israel’s inclusion.
The list, which was circulated by the UN on Tuesday, June 9, 2015 did not bear Israel’s name.
However, a report that accompanied the circulation, said that Ban was “deeply alarmed” by “grave violations suffered by children as a result of Israeli military operations in 2014.
“The unprecedented and unacceptable scale of the impact on children in 2014 raises grave concerns about Israel’s compliance with international humanitarian law,’’ it said.
Human Rights Watch urged Ban last week to add Israel to the “list of shame” after over 500 children were killed during 50-day Gaza war between Hamas and Israel in 2014.
The group also called on the UN chief to resist any political pressure by Israel and the United States to remove Israel from the draft.
“The report is the result of a consultative process,” Ban’s spokesman, Stephane Dujarric, told newsmen in New York.
“Obviously, it was a difficult decision to take,’’ Dujarric said.
Dujarric said it was Ban who took the final decision, but admitted that member states and some non-governmental organisations were “never shy about expressing their opinion to the secretary general on what he should do or should not do.”
Israeli Ambassador to the UN, Ron Prosor welcomed Ban’s decision not to include Israel, which would have put the country on a list that includes groups such as Taliban, Islamic State and al-Qaeda.
Ban “was right not to submit to the dictates of the terrorist organisations and the Arab states in his decision not to include Israel in this shameful list,” Prosor said in a statement.
More than 2,100 Palestinians, mostly civilians, died in the Gaza war.
About one-quarter of the dead were children; a number of children were killed after UN-protected schools came under attack by Israeli forces.
The conflict also left 67 Israeli soldiers and six Israeli civilians, including four children, dead.
The list, which is part of an annual report, Children and Armed Conflict, named groups in Afghanistan, Central African Republic, Congo, Iraq, Mali, Myanmar, among others.
Also Syria and Yemen as well as government forces in Congo, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan and Yemen were listed as violators of children’s abuse.
“I would like to put all parties to conflict on notice that those that engage in military actions that result in numerous grave violations against children will find themselves under continued scrutiny of the UN,’’ Ban said in the report.