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UN Warns Of 'Shocking' Level Of Humanitarian Access Denial To Children

03.04.2024 19:57

'The blatant disregard for international humanitarian law continues to increase,' says official.

The UN emphasized on Wednesday the high levels of impediment to humanitarian access for children in need, especially in the occupied Palestinian territory and Haiti.

Noting that conflicting parties continue to obstruct humanitarian aid delivery to children, UN Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict, Virginia Gamba, referred to the latest report on the matter.

"According to the last Secretary-General's annual report on children and armed conflict, the UN verified 3,941 cases of the denial of humanitarian access, making it one of the highest verified violations in 2022," Gamba said at a Security Council meeting on children and armed conflict

Gamba reported that data for the upcoming 2024 report indicates a "shocking" rise in incidents of humanitarian access denial worldwide. "The blatant disregard for international humanitarian law continues to increase," she said.

She highlighted the occupied Palestinian territory, Yemen, Afghanistan and Mali as having the highest verified cases of humanitarian access denial in 2022.

Gamba warned of worsening global conditions due to restrictive laws and increased control over humanitarian efforts, citing specific instances in the occupied Palestinian territory and Haiti.

Urging all parties to be held accountable for denying children life-saving aid, she called for unimpeded humanitarian access and the protection of civilians and infrastructure in line with international law.

UNICEF Deputy Executive Director Ted Chaiban also warned of the dire situation of children stuck in armed conflicts.

Citing his visit to the Gaza Strip in January, Chaiban noted the "staggering decline in the conditions of children."

He emphasized the devastating effects of infrastructure destruction, access denials and shortages of necessities for children in Gaza.

Recalling the significant rise in acute malnutrition for those under the age of 2 in northern Gaza, Chaiban said, "Dozens of children in the northern Gaza Strip have reportedly died from malnutrition and dehydration in recent weeks, and half the population is facing catastrophic food insecurity."

"Lack of access to humanitarian services creates greater vulnerabilities and increases other child rights violations. Children are the first to suffer and the ones who will carry the longest-lasting humanitarian consequences," she added.

According to the Government Media Office in Gaza, more than 24,000 Palestinian women and children have been killed in the Israeli attacks on Gaza in the past six months.

It said that 73% of those exposed to attacks are women and children, adding that 17,000 children in Gaza live without one or both parents.

Israel has waged a deadly military offensive on the Gaza Strip since an Oct. 7 cross-border attack by Hamas which killed less than 1,200 people.

Nearly 33,000 Palestinians have since been killed and 75,577 injured amid mass destruction and shortages of necessities. Israel has imposed a crippling blockade on the Gaza Strip, leaving its population, particularly residents of northern Gaza, on the verge of starvation.

The Israeli war has pushed 85% of Gaza's population into internal displacement amid acute shortages of food, clean water and medicine, while 60% of the enclave's infrastructure has been damaged or destroyed, according to the UN.

Israel is accused of genocide at the International Court of Justice (ICJ), which last week asked Tel Aviv to do more to prevent famine in Gaza. -

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