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

Businesses are thriving, societies are not. Time for urgent change

Internet Forum: Prioritize technologies most needed for sustainable development

Digitalization is changing banking – These 3 trends will help shape its future

AI-driven companies need to be more diverse. Here’s why

Preventing the Pandemic of Mental Illness

Qualcomm to be the next target of EU antitrust regulators? China might be the answer

Dark spots on EU humanitarian aid spending

Two major EU projects falter; the Schengen Agreement now freezes and Eurozone fails to resolve the Greek enigma

The job description for a COVID-19 community health worker – and how this could fight US unemployment

‘Everything is still to be agreed’: informal talks between Parliament and Council on Rule of law conditionality continue

State aid: Commission approves €3.2 billion public support by seven Member States for a pan-European research and innovation project in all segments of the battery value chain

France and Germany can’t reach consensus regarding EU’s top jobs

At UN, youth activists press for bold action on climate emergency, vow to hold leaders accountable at the ballot box

Myanmar: Conflict resolution at ‘total standstill’, military commanders must answer for crimes against humanity

Ebola outbreak in DR Congo conflict zone ‘remains dangerous and unpredictable’ – UN chiefs

Trade wars won’t fix globalization. Here’s why

OECD and European Commission join forces to further support structural reforms in European countries

Amid Venezuela exodus, UN refugee envoy Angelina Jolie visits camps on Colombian border, appeals for humanity, more support

Nicaragua: MEPs condemn brutal repression and demand elections

Will Turkey abandon the refugee deal and risk losing a bonanza of money?

New UN rights report paints bleak picture in eastern DR Congo

An introduction to ‘Eco-Medical Literacy’ and its importance in shaping expert medical professionals

UN aid teams scramble to reach ‘most remote places’ cut off by Cyclone Kenneth in Mozambique

Sudan: Amidst deaths, injuries, imprisonments, UNICEF stresses children’s protection ‘at all times’

Taxation: Commission refers Spain to the Court for imposing disproportionate sanctions for failure to report assets held abroad

UN chief appeals for calm as Mali presidential election draws to a close

Strong EU trade enforcement rules enter into force

Back to the basics for the EU: Investment equals Growth

Nuclear testing has ‘disastrous consequences’ for people and planet, General Assembly told

FROM THE FIELD: One teen’s journey from refugee camp to US school principal

How the institutional response to COVID-19 can prepare us for climate change

How the world’s best teacher is changing lives in Africa

COVID-19 lets us see the world through a different lens

Lack of investment and ambition means Youth Guarantee not reaching potential

European Business Summit 2014: Sting Report, Day I

EU’s new environmental policy on biofuels impacts both the environment and the European citizen

The Shifting Rhythms of Harmonious China: Ancient, Modern & Eternal

US, Russia oblige each other in Syria and Ukraine selling off allies

Tech must embrace teamwork to transform the world

Just 24% of news sources are women. Here’s why that’s a problem

A Sting Exclusive: “Cybersecurity Act for safer European Industries and Consumers against cyberthreats”, by MEP Niebler

A top economist shares 3 ways leaders can help economies recover

Partner countries get €3bn in loans to prop up economies affected by pandemic

Budgetary Control Committee asks for stronger measures to protect EU spending

Schengen: new rules for temporary checks at national borders

Building a Climate-Resilient Future – A new EU Strategy on Adaptation to Climate Change

Trailing the US-EU economic confrontation

Student-to-Tutor Ratio: a thought about the ideal model

The Sahel is engulfed by violence. Climate change, food insecurity and extremists are largely to blame

South Eurozone countries threatened by rising borrowing cost and expensive euro

Turbocharging scientific discovery: with bits, neurons, qubits – and collaboration

Why the UN is investigating poverty in the United Kingdom

EP leaders call for negotiations on upgraded Transparency Register to continue

A new kind of company is revolutionising Africa’s gig economy

UN agencies welcome regional road map to help integrate ‘continuing exodus of Venezuelans’

Brexit poses ‘particular risk’ to British people in poverty: UN independent expert

Women in video games: ‘Accept it, or don’t buy the game’

Opening – EP remembers Nelson Mandela and mourns attacks on Roma in Ukraine

UNESCO food and culture forum dishes up fresh serving of SDGs

With security improving in DR Congo’s Kasai, thousands of refugees head home from Angola

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