Appeal of the State Duma to the United Nations, international parliamentary organizations, world parliaments in connection with the heavy toll of children’s deaths and current humanitarian situation in the Israeli–Palestinian conflict zone

Text of the appeal was prepared at the request of Chairman of the State Duma Vyacheslav Volodin. Members of the State Duma unanimously supported the adoption
Duma building

In the context of the worsening humanitarian crisis in the Middle East, the deputies of the State Duma of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation see it as fundamentally important and exigent to call on the United Nations, international parliamentary organizations and world parliaments to support the demand that the parties to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict immediately, without preconditions, cease hostilities and stop the indiscriminate use of deadly weapons, resulting in deaths of civilians , primarily innocent children and teenagers. 

According to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and human rights organizations not connected to the parties to the conflict, in the first three weeks of the unprecedented outbreak of violence in Palestine and Israel, nearly 3,000 children were killed, while over 5,000 minors were injured. Every day, more than 400 children are injured or killed in the conflict zone. 

According to the Palestinian Ministry of Health, children account for 40% of the total number of deaths resulting from the escalation of the conflict. However, the majority of the children’s deaths occur in the long-suffering Gaza Strip, which has become a “death and terror strip” due to mass bombing. The blockade of the Gaza Strip is increasing the extreme suffering and anguish of Palestinian children and their families, who have to literally survive without food, water, medicine, electricity, fuel and all the basic necessities of life. 

The deputies of the State Duma express their sincere condolences to the families and friends of the victims and their compassion for those wounded and injured as a result of military actions by the warring parties. 

The State Duma emphasizes that it is not only violence and the killing of civilians and the taking and holding of hostages is a crime, but also the bombing of civilian residential areas, the blockade, the obstruction to the emergency humanitarian aid delivery and violent attempts to displace large numbers of civilians under the actual threat of physical destruction. 

The deputies of the State Duma are deeply regretful to note that the principles enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenants on Human Rights and the Convention on the Rights of the Child are currently being flagrantly violated in the Middle East, mainly in relation to minors.

It is obvious that the peacekeeping, human rights and mediation activities of a number of the United Nations bodies and specialized agencies, the main purpose of which was to maintain peace and security in the world, have proved to be untenable and ineffective. The disregard by a number of countries, led by the United States of America, of the goals and objectives outlined in the Plan of Action A World Fit for Children adopted by the UN General Assembly in 2002 was one of the reasons for the tragic situation regarding the protection of children’s life and health in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict zone. Washington and London’s blocking of the efforts of the UN Security Council, which has the exclusive right to make drastic decisions to prevent or stop any armed confrontation, leaves no doubt about the opportunistic and highly politicized approach of Western countries to the issue of ceasefire and halting a new round of hostility and violence in the decades-long Israeli-Arab conflict. Their attempts to use the escalation of the crisis in the world’s flashpoints for their own selfish, also economic, purposes and their long-standing practice of putting up a sturdy resistance to the peacekeeping efforts in the Middle East, in particular as part of the Middle East Quartet, make it impossible to absolve those international structures of responsibility, which, within the limits of their mandates, are supposed to protect the interests and rights of the child.

The State Duma deems it crucial to boost the efforts of the UN Security Council Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict and to assess and give new impetus to the work of such specialized UN agencies as the United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute, established back in 1968.

A violent death of a child is the most terrible grief for the mother and father and the entire family. The heavy toll of children and young people’s death is a humanitarian catastrophe and a tragedy for any country, any people. 

Appealing to the fellow parliamentarians from around the world, the deputies of the State Duma express their confidence that it is up to us, to people of goodwill, to stop the evil and insanity unfolding in the Middle East. Only by joint efforts of the governments, parliaments, civil society around the United Nations and the UN Security Council will we be able to save the children of Palestine, Israel and neighboring countries involved in the long-standing conflict from death and suffering. 

Children’s lives matter! All of us — people living on our planet, politicians, army men, scientists, lawyers, community leaders, teachers, doctors — are responsible for them and shall make every effort to ensure that the happiness, health and well-being of the younger generations become the most important goal and result of our joint activities for the future of the planet, its peaceful and prosperous progress.