Last week, I was in Geneva to attend and speak at the 38th Session of the UN Human Rights Council. In addition to speaking under the notoriously anti-Israel agenda Item 7 as well as Item 9 (follow-up and implementation of the Durban Declaration), I took the opportunity under Item 8 (follow-up and implementation of the Vienna Declaration ) to highlight the failure of Member States and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to decry the exploitation of children by Palestinian terror groups.
Please see my speech below.
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Thank you, Mr. President.
The Vienna Declaration affords special protections to the human rights of children. Why are so many member States and NGOs, who have spoken here today, completely indifferent to the exploitation and abuse of Palestinian children by Hamas, Islamic Jihad, the PFLP, and the Palestinian Authority? Hamas sends 100s of children to the border with Israel placing them in grave danger. The ploy is to use these children as cynical cover so that Palestinian terrorists can storm the Israeli border and cause murder and mayhem at one of the many civilian communities nearby. The Palestinian Authority gives its full blessing to the deployment of its children as cannon fodder.
What is even more disturbing about this scheme, however, is how the international community, including UN Member states, UN agencies, particularly UNICEF and UNRWA, and NGOs, like Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, the Norwegian Refugee Council, and FIDH say and do absolutely nothing. They would rather score cheap political points against Israel than keep Palestinian children from harm’s way. They would rather promote radical political agendas that inflame conflict rather than educate Palestinian children to embrace peace and co-existence.
Mr. President, if the most influential members and observers of this Council and powerful UN agencies and NGOs are unwilling to stand-up for the rights of Palestinian children against Hamas and the Palestinian Authority, what is the point of the Vienna Declaration?