Avocat Gilles Devers & Investigator Julie Webb Pullman with their Gaza Massacre War Crimes Complaint
As diplomatic condemnations of the Gaza Massacre death toll from last Monday continue to echo around the world, an International Criminal Court investigation into war crimes committed by Israeli Defence Force snipers against Palestinian prostesters is looking increasingly possible. Scoop’s Alastair Thompson reports from France on the timely laying of a complaint by 562 victims and families of those killed and injured in the Great March of Return.
Read the full article here
“Human rights no longer treated as a priority, but as a pariah,” Zeid tells 25th anniversary gathering in Vienna
UN Office of the High Commissioner
Vienna (22 May 2018) – In a speech delivered Tuesday at an international conference marking the 25th anniversary of a landmark human rights declaration, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein issued a stark warning that the world in general, including Europe, is back-sliding on human rights.
The Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action, adopted by consensus on 25 June 1993, and heavily influenced by the atrocities occurring just across Austria’s border with the former Yugoslavia, laid down the blueprint for human rights in the post-Cold-War era. It also set in motion the establishment of the UN Human Rights Office that Zeid now heads.
“This anniversary could be the occasion for a polite celebration of the achievements of my Office over the past two and a half decades – and they are many,” Zeid told the delegates gathered in Vienna. “But today is not a time for soporific complacency. Human rights are sorely under pressure around the world – no longer a priority: a pariah. The legitimacy of human rights principles is attacked. The practice of human rights norms is in retreat. Here in Europe, ethno-populist parties are in the ascendant in many countries – fuelling hatred and scarring their societies with deepening divisions.”
Referring to Austria, the High Commissioner added “In this country – which more than most should be aware of the dangers of ethnically divisive rhetoric… – false and incendiary statements have been made which are fundamentally at odds with the Vienna Declaration.”
The full text of his 870-word statement can be read below: (more…)
Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967
GENEVA (15 May 2018) – A UN human rights expert has called on the Israeli Government to immediately cease its lethal assault against protesters at the Gaza fence, who appear to pose no credible threat to Israeli military forces on the Israeli side of the fence.
Michael Lynk, the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, condemned Israel’s excessive use of force towards largely unarmed demonstrators at the Gaza fence on Monday, which has left 58 Palestinians dead, and almost 2,800 wounded. He expressed grave fears this figure could rise sharply in coming days unless Israeli authorities uphold their obligations under international human rights law and international humanitarian law.
“This blatant excessive use of force by Israel – an eye for an eyelash – must end, and there must be true accountability for those in military and political command who have ordered or allowed this force to be once again employed at the Gaza fence,” he said. (more…)
Gaza has put out an urgent call for medical equipment to cope with the numbers of injured in yesterday’s massacre by Israeli forces.
The sheer numbers will put a strain on services for weeks and months to come.
If you can help, please contact the Director of the Gaza Ministry of Health International Cooperation Directorate to get instructions on how to donate:
Hamas political bureau member, Khalil al-Hayya, said that the patience of resistance factions, especially the al-Qassam Brigades, is running out and a retaliation is imminent following the massacre of Gazan civilians by the Israeli Occupation on Monday.
In a press conference held by Hamas during the Great March of Return and after the massacre of dozens of unarmed Palestinians, al-Hayya said that the Palestinian resistance factions are standing side by side the Palestinian people and have their full support.
He added, “the shedding of our people’s blood today stains the faces of those normalizing with the Israeli Occupation and bargaining on the Palestinian cause with shame.”
Al-Hayya called on Arab and Islamic uprisings to condemn the Israeli Occupation, describing the uprisings as “a natural response to this Israeli aggression against innocent Palestinian civilians.”
Al-Hayya stressed that Jerusalem is a red line and the transfer of the US embassy is an explicit attack on the history, rights and legitimacy of the Palestinian people.
“The American administration bears all the consequences of the implementation of this unjust decision, and this terrible crime will not pass unaccountable,” al-Hayya confirmed.
He reiterated his movement’s rejection of Donald Trump’s “Deal of the Century”, indicating that the movement will do everything it can to exterminate it, and that it will stand against all projects aiming to liquidate the Palestinian cause.
Unity in the field
The Hamas leader praised the unified work that took place during the Great March of Return and called on for the continuation of the peaceful protests until the rights of the Palestinians are fully retained.
“Our people who are living the bitterness of the Nakba will not remain silent and will not retreat until their ambitions and goals of returning back to their homeland are achieved”.
He concluded that the violent and lethal response of the Israeli Occupation to the peaceful Marches confirms the Zionist occupation’s terrorist nature calling on the Arabs to stop the series of normalization and cut its ties with the Occupation.
- Egypt announced today it is permitting 92 injured to receive medical treatment in Egyptian hospitals.
- Rafah crossing will stay open until Monday, in both directions.
- Gazans donated more than 600 units of blood in less than 24 hours, demonstrating their humanity.
Spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights: Rupert Colville
Subject: (1) Gaza
We condemn the appalling, deadly violence in Gaza yesterday during which 58 Palestinians were killed and almost 1,360 demonstrators were injured with live ammunition by Israeli security forces. Of those injured, 155 are in critical condition. Six children and a health worker were among those who lost their lives, and 10 journalists suffered injuries from gunshot wounds. The already crumbling health care system in Gaza has been placed under incredible strain and those suffering life-threatening injuries face a nightmarish scenario in the absence of adequate hospital beds and medical services. We are still witnessing cases in which injured demonstrators are effectively prevented by Israel from exiting Gaza for treatment.
The rules on the use of force under international law have been repeated many times but appear to have been ignored again and again. It seems anyone is liable to be shot dead or injured: women, children, press personnel, first responders, bystanders, and at almost any point up to 700m from the fence.
A number of the demonstrators approached the fence, threw stones and Molotov cocktails at Israeli security forces personnel, and flew kites laden with petrol soaked material. Some tried to damage the fence that separates Gaza from Israel. Others burnt tires. Israeli forces responded with tear gas, plastic bullets and various types of live ammunition, some causing horrific wounds and lifelong disability. We stress, again, that lethal force may only be used as a measure of last – not first – resort, and only when there is an immediate threat to life or serious injury. An attempt to approach or crossing or damaging the fence do not amount to a threat to life or serious injury and are not sufficient grounds for the use of live ammunition. This is also the case with regards to stones and molotov cocktails being thrown from a distance at well-protected security forces located behind defensive positions.
Again, we call for independent, transparent investigations in all cases of death and injury since 30 March. Since 30 March, 112 Palestinians, including 14 children, have lost their lives at the fence and thousands have been injured.
We are extremely worried about what may happen today – an emotional day on all sides – and in the weeks ahead. We urge maximum restraint. Enough is enough.
(Arabic version available on http://www.ohchr.org/AR/Pages/Home.aspx)