UN Human Rights Council adopts report on Israel flotilla raid

[JURIST] The UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) [official website] on Wednesday agreed to adopt [press release] a recent report [JURIST report] criticizing Israel's raid of a Gaza-bound flotilla [JURIST news archive] and finding the country committed various violations of human rights and international humanitarian law. The UNHRC also adopted the conclusions relating to judicial remedies and reparations and called on the parties involved to abide by these recommendations, which include providing medical and psychological care to those who were tortured during the raid. The UNHRC recommended that the report be considered by the UN General Assembly [official website]. The resolution was passed by a vote of 30-1, with 15 members states electing to abstain from the vote. The UNHRC also passed another resolution urging the Palestinian Independent Commission of Investigations to complete its investigation of human rights violations in the ongoing conflict between Israelis and Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and condemned Israel for not cooperating with investigations. This resolution was passed by a vote of 27-1, with 19 member states abstaining. The US was the only member state to vote against both resolutions. US Ambassador Eileen Chamberlain Donahoe [official profile] explained before the vote that the US "was mindful for the loss of life on the Gaza-bound ships in May this year" and commended UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon [official website] for initiating the review of the incident. Chamberlain indicated that the US would continue to communicate with Israel to "increase the scope of goods going into Gaza" and stated that direct talks between the Israelis and Palestinians have resumed and "all parties should be working to advance the cause of peace."

In July, an Israeli military probe into the flotilla incident found insufficient intelligence and planning, but concluded that no punishments were necessary [JURIST report]. Israel also established a civilian commission [JURIST report] in June to investigate its response. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu [official website] testified before the civilian commission [JURIST report] in August and expressed confidence that the commission would find Israeli actions to be in compliance with international law, explaining the Israeli response to the flotilla in the context of the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas. The incident took place on May 31 when Israeli forces raided six ships attempting to deliver more than 10,000 tons of aid to Gaza. The raid left numerous wounded and resulted in the deaths of nine pro-Palestine activists—eight Turks and one American.

 

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