UN rights chief alarmed at possible international law violations in Gaza

[JURIST] UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay [official website] on Friday expressed [press release] alarm at the possible international human rights law violations as a result of the military operations that took place in Gaza on Thursday afternoon resulting in the deaths of 88 Palestinians. Israel's military operation "Protective Edge" began early last week, resulting in the killing of Palestinian civilians in Gaza, as well as the indiscriminate firing of rockets from Gaza into Israel. The Protective Edge campaign began as a response to the killing of three Israeli children [Economist report]. Pillay warned both sides to take precaution to ensure proportionality, not aim attacks at civilians or civilian objects and avoid placing military assets in civilian populated areas. Reports of attacks on civilians raised concerns that the government of Israel breached international law, as the targeting of civilian homes is a violation of international humanitarian law unless the homes are being used for military purposes. Pillay also reiterated a call for a peaceful resolution.

The creation of a unified Palestinian government comes as tensions have risen in the Levant between Palestine and Israel. Last month UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon [official website] urged [JURIST report] Israel to release Palestinian administrative detainees over fears of failing health in a hunger strike. In April an independent UN human rights expert urged [JURIST report] Israel to prevent settlers from taking over a building in the West Bank city of Hebron. Also in April the United Nations confirmed [JURIST report] that Palestinian officials have delivered letters of accession to 15 international conventions and treaties.

 

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