Humanitarian standards 'rolled back' in new war: UN child protection envoy

[JURIST] Radhika Coomaraswamy [official profile], the Sri Lankan human rights lawyer now serving as UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict [official website], said in an interview with AFP published Sunday that UN officials are very concerned that a new form of warfare targeting civilian institutions and infrastructure exemplified in the Middle East conflict [JURIST news archive] between Israel and Hezbollah has "rolled back" progress in the development of humanitarian standards made since World War II and blamed politics for some of the difficulties the Security Council will face in taking action. Under the terms of UN Resolution 1612 [text, PDF], passed in June 2005, UN workers monitor children in conflict-ridden areas and can report offenders - including state and non-state parties - to the Security Council for potential punitive action.

The United Nations will release a report Monday detailing Israel's July 30th bombing of a residential building in the Lebanese village of Qana [JURIST report], which is now believed to have killed at least 16 children and 12 adults. In an August 1 statement [PDF], Coomaraswamy "strongly condemned" the strike, noting that "callous disregard for the lives of children has permeated this conflict from its start" and insisting:

We cannot roll back years of agreed standards of international protection. If we do so, no-one will emerge victorious. Time and time again, the world has united to protect children, and we must not fail them now.
AFP has more.



 

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