Iran has criticized the United Nations for failing to include Israel and Saudi Arabia in its blacklist of parties violating minors’ rights during conflicts, calling on the world body to adopt a non-discriminatory approach in naming and shaming child-killer regimes.
Iran’s UN Ambassador Majid Takht-Ravanchi made the remarks in an address to the Security Council Open Debate on Children and Armed Conflict on Monday, after UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres presented his annual report.
The report covers countries and organizations under the UN’s Monitoring and Reporting Mechanism, which are listed as grave violators in the report’s annexes.
Recruitment of child soldiers, attacks on schools and hospitals, killing and maiming, sexual assault and abduction of children could trigger inclusion in the annex, which could result in Security Council sanctions.
The occupying regime in Tel Aviv has never been listed, while the Saudi-led military coalition waging a bloody war on Yemen was removed from the list in 2020, several years after it was first named and shamed for killing and injuring thousands of Yemeni kids.
Takht-Ravanchi urged the imposition of criteria for the inclusion or exclusion of names in the blacklist so as to ensure the impartiality and validity of the UN mechanism.
“Protection of children, particularly girls, in armed conflicts is a fundamental moral and humanitarian principle and every effort must be made to ensure that it is fully respected by all parties in all conflicts,” he said.
“The mechanism to list the parties violating the rights of children in armed conflicts must also be used effectively and without discrimination and selectivity. It is a source of grave concern that the Israeli forces have never been blacklisted as violators of children’s rights in relevant reports of the secretary-general and also the name of the so-called Coalition to Support Legitimacy in Yemen has been deleted from the top of that list,” he added.
The Iranian envoy also said that the UN confirmed the killing and wounding of 194 people in Yemen in 2020 by the Saudi-led coalition.
On June 22, 2021, Yemeni children marched across the country to protest the killing of more than 3,500 counterparts and the injuring of over 4,000 over the past six years in Saudi strikes, which have also orphaned thousands of Yemeni kids and displaced millions of them.
Additionally, Takht-Ravanchi said Israel keeps committing the most systematic and gross violations of children’s rights in the Middle East.
The UN secretary general’s report confirmed 1,031 cases of severe violence against 340 Palestinian children, including 11 killings, 324 maimings, 361 arrests and 30 attacks on schools and hospitals by Israeli forces, he added, noting that 66 children were among the 253 Palestinians who lost their lives in the 11-day Israeli war on Gaza in May 2021.
“These barbaric acts are clear manifestations of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity, materially breach fundamental norms and principles of international law, and entail international responsibility of the Israeli regime, whose officials must therefore be brought to justice for committing such heinous crimes,” Takht-Ravanchi said.