Julie Webb-Pullman reports

Human Rights

Gaza civilians demand action from the ICC

Palestinian victims today urged the Prosecutor of the ICC to move her preliminary examination of Palestine into a full investigation, with a complaint drafted by 40 lawyers from the Gaza Bar representing some 50 Palestinian trade unions, associations and civil society organizations plus 448 individual victims. The action was filed with the ICC by Maître Gilles Devers.

Palestinians file lawsuit against Israel at ICC

The procedure concerns three crimes:
– the blockade of Gaza
– the Israeli aggression in the summer of 2014
– the Israeli settlement of Palestine.

At a press conference in The Hague prior to submitting the complaint to the ICC, Mr Devers said that it was time for prosecutor to move the case forward.

“It is two years since Palestine has been under preliminary examination,” he said. “In Gaza, we think two years is too long.”

At a simultaneous press conference in Gaza attended by the lawyers and complainants, Basman AlAshi, Chief Executive of Wafa Rehabilitation Hospital said there is a wealth of evidence available to the Prosecutor.

“All the prosecutor of the ICC needs to open a full investigation is that there is a reasonable basis for believing that crimes within the jurisdiction of the court have been committed. The destruction of Wafa Rehabilitation Hospital, a protected place under the Geneva Convention, provides that basis. So do the attacks on Al Aqsa, Durrah and Beit Hanoun Hospitals.”

Dr Mariam Abu Daqqa described the treatment of women prisoners in Israeli detention, from being arbitrarily detained to torture, being deprived of contact with their children, and appalling living conditions. She also noted the huge number of child prisoners, and the failure of Israeli authorities to accord them even the most minimum standards of treatment demanded by international conventions.

Lawyer Mahmoud Afana emphasised the illegality of the Israeli occupation of Palestine, which breaches several aspects of international law, such as the right to self-determination, as well as many of the rights contained in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Afana described the ten-year siege of Gaza as collective punishment which constitutes “… a genocidal humanitarian crisis happening in full view of the world.”

Rana Shubeir, speaking on behalf of civil society and young people, said that they are sick of living a life of fear:
fear of being denied travel for study or medical treatment, fear of another aggression, fear of never finding a job in “this black hole of deprivation and suffering.”

“We only want to enjoy the basic human rights which are guaranteed under international and humanitarian law. We want to live knowing that the future of our children will be as bright as their innocent smiles. The only way this can be achieved is through the application of justice – and that is all we ask from the ICC – apply the rules, and open a full investigation into Palestine,” she said.

Gilles Devers emphasised that this action is just the beginning of a long struggle, noting they are well-organized and determined.

He said the group was also hoping to persuade the ICC to open a full investigation “as a matter of urgency” into the situation in East Jerusalem, where Israeli authorities are imposing severe restrictions on and around Al Aqsa Mosque, and violently attacking Palestinians protesting their repressive actions against the third most holy site in islam.

“Justice is the response to violence. We call for the strengthening of this legal action. This action must be intensified. Our strength is the determination of the Palestinian people to defend their rights.”

Advertisements

Hemaya: Gaza Inquiry appointments raise questions

PRESS RELEASE
Hemaya Center for Human Rights

hemaya logo (400 x 107)

Hemaya Center for Human Rights is deeply concerned about the events leading to the resignation of Professor William Schabas as Chair of the Independent Commission of Inquiry on the 2014 Gaza Conflict, and his replacement by Ms Mary McGowan Davis.

We consider that best practice requires that potential conflicts of interest are explored PRIOR to appointment to such inquiries, and we are most concerned that this appears not to have been the case in regard to Professor Schabas. We remain concerned that it has also not been the case re Ms McGowan Davis, given her hasty appointment. (more…)


UN Rights Council appoints members of commission to investigate purported Gaza violations

Source: UN News Centre

On 19 July 2014 in the State of Palestine, passing the rubble of homes destroyed in an Israeli air strike, a girl uses a hand truck to transport jerrycans filled with water, in the town of Rafah in southern Gaza. Photo: UNICEF/NYHQ2014-0978/El Baba

On 19 July 2014 in the State of Palestine, passing the rubble of homes destroyed in an Israeli air strike, a girl uses a hand truck to transport jerrycans filled with water, in the town of Rafah in southern Gaza. Photo: UNICEF/NYHQ2014-0978/El Baba

The United Nations Human Rights Council announced today the appointment of three members to its independent Commission of Inquiry to investigate purported violations of international humanitarian and human rights laws in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and particularly in the Gaza Strip since the conflict began on 13 June.

In a statement released this afternoon, the Council’s President, Ambassador Baudelaire Ndong Ella (Gabon), announced that the human rights body appointed Amal Alamuddin (United Kingdom), Doudou Diène (Senegal) and William Schabas (Canada) to serve as members on the international Commission. Mr. Schabas will also serve as the Commission’s Chair.

The Commission aims to establish the facts and circumstances of violations and crimes perpetrated and to identify those responsible. It will also make recommendations, in particular on accountability measures, all with a view to avoiding and ending impunity and ensuring that those responsible are held accountable, and on ways to protect civilians against any further assaults. (more…)


Taher: Disarming the resistance is a pipe dream of the occupier

Press Release
Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine
August 06, 2014

Maher Taher

Maher Taher

“Disarming the resistance is out of the question, and all factions hold tight to their weapons as long as their is occupation anywhere on the land of Palestine,” said Comrade Dr. Maher al-Taher, a member of the political bureau of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.

“There are various media reports that Israel will not accept the reconstruction of Gaza except after the removal of the weapons of the resistance, and it is demanding to supervise everything that enters the Strip. We have affirmed very clearly that the idea of disarming the resistance is a pipe dream and an illusion that is unacceptable to all. It is unacceptable to even discuss this issue in principle or see it as a debatable question. It is our inalienable right to resist this occupation,” said Taher. (more…)


A question from Gaza: Am I not human enough?

by Maisam Abumorr
Source: Al Jazeera

Abumorr (400 x 265)

I remember when I attended a three-day workshop on international law and human rights by the ICRC in Gaza, one of the attendees asked the trainer: “What do I do to be qualified to obtain those human rights?” The trainer replied without much thought: “Nothing. You should be a human, that’s all”.

The question now is, what am I supposed to do/be to be qualified as a human? As far as I can tell, I live like normal humans do. I love, I hate, I cry, I laugh, I make mistakes, I learn, I dream, I hurt, I get hurt, I love pizza, I watched Titanic 6 times, I have a crush on Bradly Cooper, I get sick, I sometimes tell lame jokes to which only I laugh and last time I checked myself in the mirror I very much looked human. (more…)


Any ceasefire agreement must be based on international law, respect for human rights

Press Release
Ministry of Health Gaza
August 06, 2014

The Ministry of Health Gaza insists that any ceasefire agreement must guarantee the human rights of our people, most importantly, the right to health.

We therefore stress that any agreement arising out of the talks in Cairo must be based on international law, not self-interest.

We emphasise that international law is something that is applied without fear or favour, not negotiated.

Loss of Palestinian land up until 2012

Loss of Palestinian land up until 2012

(more…)


NZ parliament unanimously condemns Israel

nz parliament (400 x 300)

On Thursday July 31, 2014 the New Zealand parliament condemned Israel for its attack on an UNRWA schoopl in Jabaliya, in a motion passed without dissent.

The text of the motion, proposed by Green MP Kennedy Graham,is as follows:

“That this House note the comment of UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon regarding the latest shelling of a school in Gaza: ‘nothing is more shameful than attacking sleeping children. I want to make it clear that the precise location of the Jabaliya elementary girls school had been communicated to the Israeli military authorities 17 times, as recently as last night just a few hours before the attack. They were aware of the coordinates and exact locations where these people are being sheltered’. And that this House condemn Israel’s action and calls for an immediate ceasefire to prevent the loss of further innocent life.”