The UN body monitoring the rights of children has voiced "deep concern" at the impact of the Gaza conflict, which has killed or injured hundreds of young people and has warned that the effects of recent events on an entire generation of children will be severe.
"The United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child is deeply concerned at the devastating effects that the current military engagement in Gaza is having on children," the 18-member body said in a statement issued in Geneva, where it is currently in session.
"Hundreds of children have been killed or injured, many seriously. Many others have lost their loved ones. The continuous fighting and destruction of livelihoods and basic infrastructures, severely compromise enjoyment of human rights especially in relation to health, education and family life," the Committee added.
Over 40 per cent of the nearly 900 Palestinians killed in the Israeli offensive, launched on December 27, and almost half of the 3,860 wounded, are women and children, according to reports cited as credible by the UN.
The Committee stressed that the rights enshrined in the Convention, including the right of children to life, survival and development and to be protected from all forms of violence, have been "blatantly violated during this crisis."
It recalled that human rights law, including the Convention, applies at all times, including in situations of armed conflict.
The offensive was launched with the stated aim of ending Hamas rocket attacks into Israel.