Secretary-General includes one party to the conflict attributed to grave violations of children’s rights in Ukraine in his ‘List of Shame”
Ukraine, 3 July 2023 – The Secretary-General took a step towards protecting children in armed conflict by listing the Russian Federation in his ‘list of shame’ and issuing a strong warning to Ukraine,” World Vision International said today. UN Secretary-General António Guterres released his annual report on children and armed conflict today, where he details grave violations committed in 2022 against children in armed conflicts around the world and includes a list of States and non-State armed groups responsible for such violations.
“The Secretary-General’s listing and warning decisions were based on UN-verified evidence of having perpetrated grave violations against children in Ukraine, and is a step forward for efforts to strengthen protection for children affected by the conflict in Ukraine,” said Chris Palusky, World Vision’s Ukraine Response Director, since listing allows for the establishment of the UN’s official Monitoring and Reporting Mechanism, formal UN engagement with listed parties to conflict to establish Action Plans, and the use of other tools to crucial to helping protect children in war. “Since the onset of the conflict in Ukraine in 2014, children have endured unspeakable acts of violence. This is one imperfect step towards accountability for these violations, and an opportunity for all parties to the conflict to take additional action to protect children affected by the conflict,” added Palusky.
The Secretary-General’s annual report and its annexed list of perpetrators have served as a unique and largely effective tool for identifying perpetrators and pressuring them to end abuses and protect children in times of war. The report’s impact and credibility rely largely on the application of the same standards to all parties across all armed conflicts.
Civil society groups including World Vision International have expressed concerns about the Secretary-General’s failure to include all parties responsible for child rights abuses. In 2021, an independent analysis by a group of international experts revealed persistent discrepancies in the listing of perpetrators, including at least eight parties to conflict who were found responsible for killing and maiming over 100 children in a single year, yet were not listed. The listing of parties that perpetrated grave violations against children in Ukraine according to UN verification is a move in the right direction.
World Vision International expresses its concern though for the failure of the Secretary-General to fully list all parties for all violations in other armed conflicts around the world, despite UN evidence verifying these acts and having an equally devastating impacts on the lives and futures of girls and boys. “By failing to list all parties based on evidence alone, the Secretary-General sends a message to warring parties that a distinction is being made, impunity can continue,” said Palusky, “and this leaves some of the world’s most vulnerable children at even greater risk.”
- We Must Be Accountable to Ukraine’s Children: An open statement in advance of the UN Secretary-General’s Annual Report on Children and Armed Conflict
- Open Letter from 21 Nongovernmental Organizations (NGOs) to the UN Secretary-General Calling for a Credible, Evidence-based List of Perpetrators, May 31, 202
World Vision is a Christian humanitarian and development organisation dedicated to working with children, families and their communities to reach their full potential by tackling the root causes of poverty and injustice. For more information, please visit: https://www.wvi.org/
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- Chris Palusky, Ukraine Crisis Response Director – email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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