UN chief Antonio Guterres said in a report on Monday that he was shocked by the number of children killed and maimed by Israeli forces in 2021, stressing the importance of holding perpetrators accountable for these violations.
In his annual “Children and Armed Conflict” report, which covers violations against children across the world, Guterres slammed Israel for its repeated attacks against Palestinian children.The report also covered the crimes committed by Israeli occupation forces, including those in the Gaza Strip, in which many Palestinians died, including children.
“I am shocked by the number of children killed and maimed by Israeli forces during hostilities, in airstrikes on densely populated areas and through the use of live ammunition during law enforcement operations, and by the persistent lack of accountability for these violations,” Guterres stressed.
According to the report, Israel killed during 11 days only in May last year 261 Palestinians, including 67 children and 41 women. The Secretary-General called on Israeli forces to exercise maximum restraint and use lethal force only when it is strictly unavoidable in order to protect life and put in place preventive and protective measures to end and prevent any excessive use of force against children.
He further urged Israel to continue to investigate each case where live ammunition was used, as required by procedure.
The report also covered the issue of detained Palestinian children in Israeli prisons.
Guterres expressed concern by the increase in the number of children detained by Israel and by the reports by children of physical violence directed against them during detention.
He reiterated his call upon Israel to uphold international juvenile justice standards, including the use of detention as a measure of last resort and for the shortest appropriate period, to end the administrative detention of children, and to prevent any violence and ill-treatment in detention.
Guterres said he was alarmed by Israel’s rising number of attacks on schools and educational institutions that serve children and their educational path, underlining the importance of providing the necessary humanitarian and health assistance to children without any Israeli obstacles.
Palestine’s Permanent Observer to the United Nations Riyad Mansour hailed the report.
He stressed that in accordance with the mandate given to the Secretary-General by the UN Security Council in this regard, Israel must be added to the “list of shame” due to its ongoing crimes against children.
Palestine will continue to pressure and demand Guterres to fulfill his mandate in this regard and add Israel to the blacklist until the crimes against Palestinian children end and they enjoy protection like all other children across the world.
Mansour stressed that protecting Palestinian children’s rights is not only a political and legal duty but also a moral duty from which the children of Palestine should not be excluded.