Buying Children To Serve as Suicide Bombers Protested to UN Agencies

Wiesenthal Centre to UN Human Rights Commission and to UNICEF: "Recruitment of Baby-Bombers as Jihadist Sales Commodity Desecrates Every Law, Religion and Morality"

Paris, 6 July 2009

In a letter to United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navanethem Pillay, and to United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) Executive Director, Ann Veneman, the Simon Wiesenthal Centre's Director for International Relations, Dr. Shimon Samuels, expressed concern at "reports from the Washington Times of 2 July, corroborated by other sources, that point to the Taliban
–'buying children as young as 7 to serve as suicide bombers in the growing spate of attacks against Pakistani, Afghan and U.S. targets...

-the going price for child bombers was $7,000 to $14,000 - huge sums in Pakistan...

-the price depends on how quickly the bomber is needed and how close the child is expected to get to the target'."

The letter continued, "In 2004, our Centre launched a campaign to denote suicide bombing as a crime against humanity. This initiative was quickly blessed by H.H. the late Pope John Paul II and passed as a motion of the Australian Parliament.

Our draft convention posited that all links in the chain of suicide terror- those who recruit, house, finance, arm, transport or glorify terrorists - be considered complicit in responsibility for this most costly, in human suffering, form of terror. Indeed, while a United Nations definition of terrorism may be far from consensual, a growing number of nations in all regions are victims of suicide bombings, thus providing a specific area for trans-national cooperation.

In 2006, our petition to former High Commissioner, Louise Arbour, to designate a Special Rapporteur on Suicide Terrorism, remained stillborn despite expressions of interest from Foreign Ministers and Ambassadors of over twenty UN member-states."

Samuels noted that, "Recruitment or kidnapping of, and trafficking in child-soldiers, especially in Africa, has been an agenda item for both the UNHCHR and UNICEF. The brainwashing of pre-adolescents for suicide bombings is now a new threshold in that horror scenario, justified in the Washington Times article by a redeemed Afghan mujahadin, who explained that, 'there is a different cultural perspective here about the age at which a boy becomes a man'."

The Wiesenthal Centre, in view of these revelations, urged the UN Human Rights Commission "to promptly condemn suicide bombings as a specific crime. We also repeat our proposal for a Special Rapporteur on this issue."

The Centre, similarly, called on UNICEF "to launch an enquiry into the purchase of children for suicide-bombings by the Taliban, and to also include the incitement to martyrdom of children by other terrorist movements, inter alia, Al Qaeda, Hamas, Hezbollah and Islamic Jihad."

"While our Centre expresses solidarity with the victims of suicide terrorism, in Pakistan and in every other country targeted by this scourge, the fungibility of baby-bombers as a Jihadist sales commodity must be condemned as a desecration of every law, religion or morality. It is a travesty of the human condition itself," concluded Samuels.

For further information, please contact Shimon Samuels at +33.609.77.01.58.