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UNICEF fails Gaza chil­dren

- Society · UNICEF · Gaza Strip · Gaza City · Belarus · Iceland · Palestinian Authority · Palestinian National Authority · West Bank · Canada · Austria · Jerusalem · Israel · Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine · Palestinian Territory

Re: Deaths of Gaza chil­dren more than just num­bers, says Cana­dian UNICEF worker, May 20 (on­line)

The re­marks by UNICEF’s Genevieve Boutin high­light the im­moral bias in UNICEF’s work on the Arab-Is­raeli con­flict, pri­mar­ily, its fail­ure to mon­i­tor and re­port on Pales­tinian vi­o­la­tions of chil­dren’s rights.

Boutin does not at­tribute blame for child ca­su­al­ties to Ha­mas and other ter­ror groups’ re­cruit­ment and use of chil­dren as ac­tive par­tic­i­pants in the con­flict. This is a com­plete fail­ure by UNICEF in car­ry­ing out its man­date of mon­i­tor­ing and re­port­ing on this par­tic­u­larly grave vi­o­la­tion of chil­dren’s rights.

Boutin also in­vents an in­ter­na­tional stan­dard, stat­ing that it is al­ways wrong to tar­get chil­dren. In­deed, it is heart­break­ing and tragic if chil­dren are harmed in armed con­flict. How­ever, when they are di­rectly par­tic­i­pat­ing in hos­til­i­ties, they be­come le­git­i­mate tar­gets and when they are used as hu­man shields, un­for­tu­nate out­comes can sadly oc­cur. The moral and le­gal cul­pa­bil­ity for any harm rests with those who send those chil­dren to en­gage in vi­o­lence.

It is ap­palling that Boutin ig­nores this fun­da­men­tal as­pect of UNICEF’s man­date and fails to place blame on the ter­ror groups’ — Ha­mas, Is­lamic Ji­had, and the Pop­u­lar Front for the Lib­er­a­tion of Pales­tine — re­cruit­ment and use of chil­dren as sol­diers.

Becca Wert­man, Deputy Ed­i­tor and Canada Desk re­searcher at NGO Mon­i­tor, a Jerusalem­based re­search in­sti­tute, Jerusalem, Is­rael

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