Iran slams UN for yielding to Israel, Saudi pressures

NEW YORK, Aug. 03 (MNA) – Iran’s UN envoy criticized the UN for yielding to undue pressures and lobbying from Israel and Saudi Arabia in the face of children killed and their homes destroyed.

Gholam Ali Khoshroo, Iran’s Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations, addressed the Security Council open debate on ‘Children and armed conflict’ in New York on Tuesday.

He expressed his disappointment at UN for capitulating under heavy pressures and lobbying from Israeli and Saudi Arabia whose inhumane aggressions in Palestine and Yemen have led to the death of hundreds of children and destruction of their homes, schools and hospitals.

“Last year Israel was not blacklisted despite flagrantly targeting children in Gaza,” he said. “This year in Yemen, the Saudi Arabia-led coalition was first blacklisted, based on the UN findings indicating that it was directly responsible for 60% of child casualties…but surprisingly, its name was finally removed from the list.”

He deemed this behavior “tantamount to betraying the most vulnerable people on the planet, the children, whom this process is designed to protect.”

“It also discredits UN reports and seriously damages the universality of the application of IHL,” he added.

The following is the full text of his statement before the Security Council:

Mr. President,

I would like to begin by congratulating Malaysia on assuming the presidency of the Council and for organizing this open debate in a timely manner on the very important matter of children and armed conflict. I would also like to thank SG for presenting his annual report on “Children and armed conflict” as well as SRSG Zerrougui for their valuable inputs to this debate.

According to SG’s report, 2015 was sadly another horrific year for children trapped in conflict zones and targeted by warring factions with no respect for international humanitarian law and the welfare of our children. Children are currently suffering and being killed and maimed in massive numbers as a result of armed conflicts. At the same time, we have witnessed the proliferation and growth of extremist groups who systemically violate the rights of children. They perpetrate acts of violence against children, launch indiscriminate attacks on civilian populations, target schools and health facilities and abduct children in large numbers.

Mr. President,

The trend of violent extremists infringing upon the rights of children should be of particular concern for the international community. The nature of these groups and their form and structure mean that many standards and proven methods used by the international community to protect children from them may be considerably less effective.

The complete disregard for civilians, including children, by Daesh and Al-Qaeda and their affiliates, especially in Syria and Iraq, has been particularly shocking and the proliferation of these tactics among such groups worrying. Violent extremists have adopted widespread abduction as a feature of their operations to inflict terror and for the purpose of political brainwashing, ransom, retaliation or sexual exploitation. The Boko Haram gangs have been ravaging the parts of Nigeria and terrorizing children. Likewise, the targeting of the children of religious and ethnic minority groups is also a matter of grave concern.

The situation of children in Yemen and specially the UN verified six fold increases in the number of children killed and maimed is also a matter of great concern. SG’s report indicates that out of total 1,953 child casualties, including 785 children killed and 1,168 injured, 60 percent of them were caused by air strikes. This marks an exponential and unacceptable jump, compared to the entire year of 2014 and makes clear how the intensity of the conflict in Yemen can lead to humanitarian crises.

The 2014 Secretary-General’s report on this issue and other UN agencies evidenced the fact that, only in Gaza between 8 July and 26 August 2014, 540 Palestinian children were killed, 2955 injured among them 1000 estimated to be permanently disabled as a result of the latest Israeli invasion of Gaza. The number of schools, kindergartens and hospitals damaged or completely destroyed by Israeli forces during the same period is the highest recorded numbers of all situations in 2014. Israeli denial of humanitarian access to the entire occupied Palestinian people endangers the survival and the wellbeing of the Palestinian children which adds yet another record for Israeli regime in ignoring international humanitarian law without being held accountable for its grave violations against children.

We would like to take this opportunity to call for accountability for the war crimes and violations committed by Israel during its recent military aggression against the Palestinian civilian population, and for the wanton destruction of vital civilian infrastructure in the Gaza Strip. The international community, including the Security Council, should ensure serious follow-up efforts to bring an end to Israel’s impunity and to secure justice for the victims. This impunity has led to actions taken by the Israeli government “that further restrict the rights of Palestinians, including children” as indicated in the paragraph 79 of the SG’s report.

And finally, in the face of children killed and their homes, schools and hospitals destroyed, it is disappointing that undue pressures and lobbying were exerted and could change the course. Last year Israel was not blacklisted despite flagrantly targeting children in Gaza. This year in Yemen, the Saudi Arabia-led coalition was first blacklisted, based on the UN findings indicating that it was directly responsible for 60% of child casualties, including the deaths of 785 children due to bombing campaigns. The UN rapporteurs had authenticated 49 bombings of schools and hospitals by this Coalition in Yemen in 2015. But surprisingly, its name was finally removed from the list, again due to heavy pressures and lobbying.     

This behavior is tantamount to betraying the most vulnerable people on the planet, the children, whom this process is designed to protect. It also discredits UN reports and seriously damages the universality of the application of IHL. 

Have the ongoing airstrikes in Yemen, which have already led to the death of hundreds of Yemeni children, brought any result other than strengthening Deash and Al-Qaida?

While the world seems mostly unconscious and indifferent about the killing and suffering of the Yemeni children, could the international community be protected against the growing strategic threat of terrorism and violent extremism?      

I thank you Mr. President

MS

News Code 118599

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