Watchdog Group Says UN Report on Children and Armed Conflict Biased Against Israel Due to NGO Influence
A top watchdog group asserts that a new UN report on children in armed conflict that will be presented to the Security Council on Monday is biased against Israel due to the involvement of “radical” NGOs in its formulation.
A review by NGO Monitor said of the Children and Armed Conflict (CAAC) report to the UN Secretary-General that its allegations against Israel “primarily originate with a group of radical NGOs that belong to a ‘working group’ tasked by UNICEF with monitoring and advocacy on children’s issues. Together with UNICEF, they engage in a campaign to demonize Israel in the Secretary-General’s annual report.”
The group said that there is also an issue of disproportionate criticism of the Jewish state, which is driven by institutional pressures.
“The relatively large number of NGOs active in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict — enabled by significant funding from the EU, European governments, and others — leads to a selection bias: [the] UN receives and reports a high number of allegations against Israel because of NGO engagement,” the Israel-based group said. “Grave violations that occur in places with less NGO presence are underreported.”
NGO Monitor also criticized the report’s redefinition of the term “maiming” to include the inhalation of tear gas, which then amounts to 50% of the number of children the report claims have been maimed.
This redefinition has been used only in relation to Israel, it said.
The group also challenged the report’s claim that detention of children is a “grave violation” of the CAAC framework, which it is not.
Indeed, the number of violations in general, said NGO Monitor, is vastly inflated, as some 64% of the 1,031 alleged violations involve children who could not enter Israel for medical treatment, though Israel is not required to allow such entrances.
Anne Herzberg, NGO Monitor’s Legal Advisor, said of the findings, “In order to formulate the best policies to protect children in armed conflict, the UN must provide accurate and consistent data. Unfortunately, because it is heavily influenced by NGOs promoting BDS, and some even linked to the [terrorist group] PFLP, like in previous years, the 2020 CAAC report is full of distorted claims and invented legal definitions regarding Israel.”
“The report also severely neglects the issues of Palestinian incitement and recruitment and use of child soldiers,” she said.
“The UN has a choice: it can continue to rely on radical NGOs and produce reports that have little impact in the conflict; or it can start employing accepted standards for fact finding, and be taken seriously by those who can implement change on the ground,” Herzberg asserted.