UNITED NATIONS, June 25 (IPS) – When the UN’s annual report on children and armed conflict was released last week, it was expected to “name and shame” some of the world’s worst human rights abusers – particularly those who abuse children.
But these offenders have been protected — and never stigmatized — despite hundreds of children being killed by warring parties in ongoing conflicts, particularly in Yemen, Syria and Myanmar, including the United States, Russia and China as arms suppliers, drawing criticism from United Nations monitors and human organizations. Jurist.
“We remain disappointed that the Secretary-General (SG) is not using his ‘list of shame’ to hold all parties accountable for their grave abuses against children,” Jo Becker, children’s rights advocacy director at Human Rights Watch, told IPS. .
The message it sends to the Saudi-led coalition regarding their operations in Yemen is that “as long as they kill and maim fewer children than they did the year before, they can stay off the list.”
“We have also seen in the case of Myanmar how disastrous it was to remove the Tatmadaw (the country’s armed forces) from the list while they were still recruiting and using children; the following year the number tripled.”
Baker said the secretary-general should not make listing decisions based on his hopes for future improvement, but based on facts on the ground.
His repeated failure to build his list, based on the evidence of the United Nations itself, betrays children and increases impunity. Now that his second term as Secretary-General has been confirmed, he must abandon this approach and ensure that his list reflects the facts. Baker declared that the UN Security Council should insist that all violators be included without exception.” The oil-bless Saudi Arabia, which leads a coalition in the military conflict in Yemen, is a long-standing political and military ally of the United States–which, along with the United Kingdom, China and Russia, enjoys France – with veto powers in the Security Council.
Russia provides political and military support to war-torn Syria, while China, one of Myanmar’s largest arms suppliers, has undermined Security Council attempts to impose an arms embargo on the war-torn country.
Ian Williams, president of the New York-based Foreign Press Association (FPA) and author of UNtold: The Real Story of the United Nations in Peace and War, he told IPS Guterres has built a human rights profile low enough to be underground.
History suggests that one of the few weapons available to the Secretary-General and the United Nations collectively is “slander and slander,” he said, noting that it was also true that many member states — such as the 57-nation Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) who refuse to support the Uyghurs, are also Unashamedly unprincipled in the face of power – but the moral and outspoken Secretary-General, as a platform for the UN Charter, can turn the tide.
“If Guterres is more concerned with posterity than with his pension — and if he wants to write history books rather than the footnotes — he should take his cue from Dag Hammarskjold, telling the truth to power,” said Williams, former president of the United Nations Correspondents Association (UNCA), “and avoiding planes.” leased”.
He noted that various models of the SG ship were tried, but none of them were completely successful.
“Kofi Annan tried sweet style. Ban Ki-moon tried to be nice in public, firm in his meetings with heads of state, and angry in private at the gratuitous insults they had directed at him,” Williams said.
Perhaps the harshest comment came from Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch: “Guterres’ first term was defined by public silence on human rights abuses by China, Russia, the United States and their allies.” Referring to the three permanent members of the United Nations Security Council who have veto power.
With his re-election behind him, Guterres must use the next five years to become a staunch defender of rights. His latest readiness to denounce abuses in Myanmar And the Belarus It must be expanded to include all governments that deserve condemnation, including those that are strong and protected.”
Since taking office in January 2017, Guterres . has taken over rarely criticized Or advocate accountability by certain governments or their leaders, Roth said.
Guterres adopted a “non-confrontational approach to former US President Donald.” Trump’s efforts To marginalize human rights by undermining them multilateral Organizations like the United Nations embrace authoritarian leaders.”
He adopted an approach similar to crimes against humanity In Xinjiang by the government of China, it is now the second largest financial contributor to the United Nations, after the United States, and Saudi Arabia’s war crimes in Yemen, Roth complained.
HRW also said that Guterres was reluctant to criticize abuses by the Russian government, which has often used its veto power in the Security Council to block human rights decisions on the Syria And in other places. She added that Guterres must exercise stronger leadership against the global rollback of women’s rights.
According to the Watch List on Children and Armed Conflict, Secretary-General Removal The Saudi- and UAE-led coalition dropped off its annual list of child rights violators last year, despite the UN finding that it was responsible for killing and maiming 222 children in Yemen in 2019.
At that time, he had vow To re-list the coalition if it fails to sustainably reduce abuses.
“As the latest UN report shows, the Secretary-General’s decision to remove the Saudi and UAE-led coalition from its list of shame last year sent a clear message that parties can get away with killing children,” said Adrienne Labar, Director of Watchlist on. Children and armed conflict.
“If the Secretary-General does not immediately reconsider his decision and put the coalition back on his list, he seriously undermines international efforts to protect children in war and encourages the warring parties to be more abusive against children.”
Meanwhile, Save the Children, a leading humanitarian organization for children, noted the killing and maiming of 194 Yemeni children in 2020, but the UN report on children and armed conflict again failed to hold the perpetrators to account.
But despite the killings in Yemen in 2020, according to data verified by the United Nations, the coalition led by Saudi Arabia and the UAE is getting the green light to continue destroying the lives of children in Yemen, the organization said.
In a disappointing decision, UN Secretary-General António Guterres has again failed to include the coalition on this year’s ‘list of shame’.
It was removed from the list last year, with a commitment by the Secretary-General to re-list it unless there is a “significant and sustained reduction in killing and maiming”. By not reinstating the coalition, Guterres is sending the message that reducing the number of child casualties to around two hundred is “good enough” progress, Save the Children said.
“They must get even bolder and braver in prioritizing human rights and calling out perpetrators, including children and armed conflict,” said Matthew Wells, Deputy Director of Thematics at Amnesty International’s Crisis Response Program, Guterres, who has just been given another five-year term. .
Together with the Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict, he must publicly commit to applying the same standard regardless of offender or context – producing a complete list based on evidence and objective criteria, something he failed to do again this year.
Next year, it should follow the standards set in 2010; The Saudi-led coalition and the Israeli army, among others, will once again prove to be a major test.
For their part, UN member states should demand a credible list. Wells asked why teams on the ground put themselves at risk to document abuses that are being ignored?
© Inter Press Service (2021) – All rights reservedOriginal source: Inter Press Service