Israeli security forces’ response to Gaza protests ‘a recipe for more bloodshed’, says UN expert

UN News/Reem Abaza Om Ehab, right, with her sisters and children in her home in Beach Camp ifor Palestine Refugees in Gaza.

This article is brought to you in association with the United Nations.


Since the beginning of the year, Israeli security forces have responded to protests along Gaza’s border fence with tear gas, rubber coated bullets and live ammunition that have caused death, injury and fear, which the UN’s independent human rights expert on the region described on Tuesday as “a recipe for more bloodshed”.

Michael Lynk, the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian Territory occupied since 1967, said in a statement that on 8 February live ammunition killed boys aged 14 and 17 during a protest.

Just four days later, a 16-year-old boy was hit in the head by a tear gas canister: “According to human rights organisations, the three boys posed no threat to Israeli forces”, the statement added.

And on 22 February, another 14-year-old boy was killed by live ammunition during a protest east of Gaza city.

“We must ensure legal accountability and end impunity for the excessive use of force against largely peaceful Palestinian demonstrators, and the resulting arbitrary deprivation of life,” said the Special Rapporteur. “This is a grave violation of their right to life and it abrogates their guaranteed freedoms of expression, peaceful assembly and association.”

Mr. Lynk welcomed the findings and recommendations on 28 February of the Commission of Inquiry, mandated by the Human Rights Council last May, to investigate all alleged violations and abuses of international humanitarian law and international human rights law in the Occupied Palestinian Territory

“It found reasonable grounds to believe that, in all but two of the 189 fatalities investigated, the use of live ammunition by Israeli security forces against demonstrators was unlawful,” Mr. Lynk asserted, adding his support to the Commission’s call for accountability for “those who drafted and approved the rules of engagement which permitted this illegal use of lethal fire.”

Among the dead were 35 children, three paramedics and two journalists. Another 6,106 demonstrators were wounded during the demonstrations.

The UN expert reiterated that international human rights instruments pertaining to law enforcement state that firearms may only be used against persons if there is an imminent threat to life or risk of serious injury.

Moreover, in the context of an occupation, the killings at the Gaza fence resulted from the unlawful use of force, which “might well constitute wilful killings of the protected population” – a grave breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention and potentially a war crime under the Rome Statute.

Calling the killings “a grave violation of their right to life,” Mr. Lynk said, “it abrogates their guaranteed freedoms of expression, peaceful assembly and association.”

He also endorsed the Commission’s recommendations that Gaza’s de facto authorities, the extremist group Hamas, which has controlled the region since 2006, failed to prevent the indiscriminate use of incendiary kites and balloons, causing “economic damage and civilian fear in southern Israel”.

The Special Rapporteur welcomed the Commission’s attention to the dire living conditions in Gaza that have fuelled the large demonstrations over the past year and endorsed its call that Israel immediately lift the Gaza blockade that has repeatedly been described by recent UN Secretaries-General as a prohibited form of collective punishment of Gaza’s population.

He also pointed to the dire impact the blockade has posed on the Gazan health system, which has significantly contributed to the deteriorating quality of health in the Strip.

As the one-year anniversary nears of the beginning of the protests on 30 March, which Gazans refer to as the “Great March of Return”, and in view of the deteriorating economic and humanitarian situation, the Special Rapporteur fears an increase in violence if firm action is not taken toward accountability and justice.

“Continuing to suffocate Gaza is a blot on the world’s conscience and a recipe for more bloodshed,” Mr. Lynk said.

“Restoring Gaza and ensuring justice and accountability would give the region hope that a better Middle East is possible”, he concluded.

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Mobile Technology in Nowadays Medical Practice: Is It a Safe Path?

Libya: Security Council demands commitment to ‘a lasting ceasefire’

Security: better access to data for border control and migration management

10 start-ups that are helping to change the Arab world

How the inventor of the internet plans to make it safe and accessible for everyone

Make the internet safer: stop using passwords

Health Committee MEPs back plans to boost joint assessment of medicines

Why do humanitarian crises disproportionately affect women?

Guterres: Security Council’s African alliances ‘needed and appreciated more than ever’

More than half of EU consumers have environmental impact in mind when shopping, new survey reveals

Will the three major parties retain control of the new EU Parliament?

International community agrees on a road map for resolving the tax challenges arising from digitalisation of the economy

Decent working conditions for the young health workforce: what are the challenges and can we find solutions?

Inegalitarian taxation on labour haunts Europe’s social model

UN police officer recognized for protecting vulnerable Somali women from abuse

OECD sees global growth moderating as uncertainties intensify

Responding to the anger

Want to cut greenhouse gas emissions? Look to digital technologies

Electronic cigarettes: is it really a safe alternative to smoking?

Security Council hails ‘historic and significant’ joint peace declaration by Ethiopia and Eritrea

Technology is a force for peace and prosperity. Don’t let its challenges obscure this

VP McGuinness on women’s rights: “Not an option, but a duty”

Opponents of constitutional change in Burundi face torture and execution: UN investigators

Summer pause gives time to rethink Eurozone’s problems

Infinite Oath

European Parliament backs CO2 emissions cuts for trucks

‘Millions facing starvation’ – Global political and business leaders on the economic impact of COVID-19

A Sting Exclusive: the EU referendum is about fighting for an outward-looking Britain

New UN report on families in a changing world puts ‘women’s rights at their core’

Migration crisis update: mutual actions and solidarity needed as anti-migrant policies thrive

Execution of juvenile offender in Iran ‘deeply distressing’ – UN rights chief

Coronavirus Global Response: Commission joins the COVID-19 Vaccine Global Access Facility (COVAX)

An economist explains how to value the internet

Is poverty and exclusion the necessary price for EU’s recovery?

‘World has failed’ victims of genocide too often: Guterres

Monday’s Daily Brief: Earth Day, looking for a solution to Libya crisis, focus on indigenous issues, Security Council on Sri Lanka, a high-level visit to Bangladesh

Insecurity and violence turn Nigeria into a ‘pressure cooker’ that must be addressed, says UN rights expert

Central African Republic: UN chief hails signing of new peace agreement

How a chocolate bar gives hope for a new economy

How the Irish people were robbed by banks, the Commission and their own government

OECD Steel Committee concerned about excess capacity in steel sector

Why “de-learning” is equally important as reskilling in conversations about the future of work

Ηealth’s foundation is falling apart: what can we do about it?

This 12-year-old built an underwater robot to fight plastic pollution

Guinea President Alpha Condé: “We must tackle the root causes of migration”

China hopes EU Commissioner De Gucht drops super anti-dumping tariff on solar panels

The importance and the need of mobile technology in the health care system and in saving lives.

Energy: EU funding for priority projects should reflect 2050 climate objectives

“Austerity was not the alternative!”, President Hannes Swoboda of the European Socialists and Democrats on another Sting Exclusive

Economy on a steady rise in Latin America and Caribbean region ‘despite international turbulence’ – UN report

OECD Donor countries need to reform development finance to meet 2030 pledge

MWC 2016 Live: Mobile ad industry still waiting for “revolution”

This Chinese megacity is building a giant waste-to-energy plant

Hunger and obesity in Latin America and the Caribbean compounded by inequality: UN report

China Unlimited: the dragon’s long and winding road

EU-Vietnam free trade deal gets green light in trade committee

Asia-Pacific showing ‘decisive leadership’ on road to 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, deputy UN chief tells key forum

Young students envision turning Europe into an Entrepreneurial Society

The World Health Organization has called on countries to ‘test, test, test’ for coronavirus – this is why

More Stings?

Advertising

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s