The United Nations has put Russian military forces and proxy armed groups on its "list of shame" over the killing and maiming of hundreds of children in its war against Ukraine, according to a document seen by AFP Thursday, June 22.
In an annual report on the treatment of children in conflict zones, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said he was "appalled by the high number of grave violations against children in Ukraine" committed in 2022.
"I am particularly shocked by the high number of attacks on schools and hospitals and protected personnel, and by the high number of children killed and maimed attributed to the Russian forces and affiliated armed groups," Guterres said in the report, which was distributed to members of the Security Council on Thursday and seen by an AFP reporter.
According to the document, 477 children were killed in Ukraine last year, including 136 deaths attributed to Russian forces and affiliated groups and 80 to Ukrainian armed forces. A further 909 children were maimed, 518 of them by Russian forces and proxy groups and 175 by Ukrainian forces, the report said.
The report will be released publicly next week.
Human Rights Watch welcomed the UN's decision to call out Russia.
"By adding Russia's forces to his list of shame, the Secretary-General is holding them to account for horrific violations against children," said Jo Becker, the group's advocacy director for children's rights.
"Hundreds of Ukrainian children have been killed in apparently indiscriminate Russian attacks on apartment buildings and other civilian structures," she added.
- Israel not on list -
Despite repeated requests from human rights organizations, Israel was not added to the shame list over the killing of dozens of Palestinian children.
Guterres noted a "meaningful decrease in the number of children killed by Israeli forces, including by air strikes" last year compared to the previous report.
According to the report, 42 children were killed in 2022 by Israeli forces, compared to 78 in 2021.
"Nevertheless, I remain deeply concerned by the number of children killed and maimed by Israeli forces during hostilities," Guterres added, "and through the use of live ammunition during law enforcement operations, and by the persistent lack of accountability for these violations.
Palestinian Ambassador to the UN Riyad Mansour called Guterres' decision to leave Israel off the list a "big mistake."
Becker of Human Rights Watch also criticized it.
"His unwillingness year after year to hold Israeli forces accountable for their grave violations against children has backfired, only emboldening Israeli forces to use unlawful lethal force against Palestinian children," Becker said.
The report also condemned violence against children in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Somalia, Syria, Haiti and other countries.
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