Human Rights Watch urged UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Thursday to add Israel to its annual "List of Shame" of children's rights violators. Israel, said the rights organisation, should be on the list for its killing of more than 500 Palestinian children during its offensive against Palestinians in the Gaza Strip last year.
The US-based watchdog asked Ban to resist pressure from Israel and America to keep the Israeli army off the list, which will be published next week. According to HRW crisis advocacy director, Philippe Bolopion, "The Secretary-General can strengthen child protection in war by compiling his list based on facts, not political pressure."
The Israeli offensive last year resulted in the killing of 539 Palestinian children; almost three thousand others were wounded.
HRW also asked for the inclusion of the Islamic Resistance Movement, Hamas, on the list, as well as other armed groups from Pakistan, Thailand and India. It pointed out that these groups launched attacks on schools or recruited child soldiers.
The UN's special representative of the secretary-general for children and armed conflict, Leila Zerrougui, recommended last month that Israel should be on the list. At the moment it includes 51 armed groups, including Boko Haram and ISIS, along with 8 national armies, including Syria, Yemen, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Sudan.