HRW asks UN to put Israel on child rights violators list

UNITED NATIONS, United States (AFP) - Human Rights Watch on Thursday urged UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to add Israel to an annual List of Shame of children's rights violators, after more than 500 children were killed in the war in Gaza last year.

The US-based rights group called on Ban to resist pressure from Israel and the United States to keep the Israeli Defence Forces off the list due to be released next week.

"Secretary-General Ban can strengthen child protection in war by compiling his list based on facts, not political pressure," said Philippe Bolopion, crisis advocacy director at Human Rights Watch.

Human Rights Watch is also calling for the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas to be included as well as armed groups in Pakistan, Thailand and India for serious violations including attacks on schools and the recruitment of child soldiers.

The current list has 51 groups including Boko Haram and Islamic State in Iraq and Syria as well as the armed forces from eight countries such as Syria, Yemen, the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan.

The 50-day conflict in Gaza last year killed 539 children, injured 2,956, and most Palestinians are now struggling with trauma and life-long disabilities, according to the UN children's agency, UNICEF.

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