Israel’s Rafah invasion must stop now, say UN experts by Francesca Albanese, Tomoya Obokata

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“In light of the grievous humanitarian situation on the ground, no evacuation order issued by Israel can be considered compliant with international humanitarian law,” they said. International law stipulates that Israel must ensure displaced civilians are protected and have continuous access to food, safe water, and medical assistance. “This is even more critical when Israel has been warned that its acts may amount to genocide,” the experts said. “Further displacement of Gaza’s population through evacuation orders or military operations contravenes binding provisional measures imposed on Israel by the International Court of Justice.”

…“States with influence over Israel have described any incursion into Rafah as a ‘red line’,” the experts said. “They must immediately put those words into practice and stop this disastrous campaign by ending the flow of arms into Israel and withholding investment and political support.”

Continue reading at https://www.ohchr.org/en/press-releases/2024/05/israels-rafah-invasion-must-stop-now-say-un-experts

Onslaught of violence against women and children in Gaza unacceptable: UN experts by Reem Alsalem and others

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“The treatment of pregnant and lactating women continues to be appalling, with the direct bombardment of hospitals and deliberate denial of access to health care facilities by Israeli snipers, combined with the lack of beds and medical resources placing an estimated 50,000 pregnant Palestinian women and 20,000 new-born babies at unimaginable risk. Over 183 women per day are giving birth without pain relief, while hundreds of babies have died because of a lack of electricity to power incubators,” they said. “The dreadful conditions have resulted in increases in miscarriages by up to 300 percent. 95 per cent of pregnant and breastfeeding women face severe food poverty”.

The experts said women in labour deliver their babies in horrific circumstances. According to UNFPA, around 155,000 pregnant women and new mothers are struggling to survive and access basic health care. In addition, an estimated 690,000 women and girls in Gaza who require menstrual hygiene supplies are unable to manage their menstrual cycle in privacy and with dignity with some reports of contraceptive pills being taken to avoid the unhygienic menstrual conditions.

… “Nothing illustrates systematic violence being inflicted on women and their children better than the story of an infant who was saved from her mother’s womb after she was killed in an Israeli attack in the Gaza Strip, and died days later in an incubator on 26 April,” the experts said.

They were dismayed at continued reports of sexual assault and violence against women and girls, including against those detained by Israeli occupation forces. 

Continue reading at https://www.ohchr.org/en/press-releases/2024/05/onslaught-violence-against-women-and-children-gaza-unacceptable-un-experts

Gaza: UN experts deplore use of purported AI to commit ‘domicide’ in Gaza, call for reparative approach to rebuilding by Balakrishnan Rajagopal

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According to the experts, the systematic and widespread destruction of housing, services and civilian infrastructure represents a crime against humanity, a domicide, as well as numerous war crimes and acts of genocide as described by the UN Special Rapporteur on the Occupied Palestinian Territory in her recent report to the Human Rights Council. With Israeli public officials joining calls for Palestinians to leave Gaza, to “take back Gaza” to build settlements again, and ostensible enthusiasm expressed by prominent former US government officials for “Gaza beachfront” properties, there is little doubt that Israel’s intent goes far beyond the purposes of military defeat of Hamas, they noted… “We are especially concerned about the alleged use of AI to target ‘family homes’ of suspected Hamas operatives, typically at night when they sleep, with unguided munitions known as ‘dumb’ bombs, with little regard for civilians who may be in or around that home,” they said.

Continue reading at https://www.ohchr.org/en/press-releases/2024/04/gaza-un-experts-deplore-use-purported-ai-commit-domicide-gaza-call

Anatomy of a Genocide by Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967, Francesca Albanese

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  • After five months of military operations, Israel has destroyed Gaza. Over 30,000 Palestinians have been killed, including more than 13,000 children. Over 12,000 are presumed dead and 71,000 injured, many with life-changing mutilations. Seventy percent of residential areas have been destroyed. Eighty percent of the whole population has been forcibly displaced. Thousands of families have lost loved ones or have been wiped out. Many could not bury and mourn their relatives, forced instead to leave their bodies decomposing in homes, in the street or under the rubble. Thousands have been detained and systematically subjected to inhuman and degrading treatment. The incalculable collective trauma will be experienced for generations to come.

  • By analysing the patterns of violence and Israel’s policies in its onslaught on Gaza, this report concludes that there are reasonable grounds to believe that the threshold indicating Israel’s commission of genocide is met. One of the key findings is that Israel’s executive and military leadership and soldiers have intentionally distorted jus in bello principles, subverting their protective functions, in an attempt to legitimize genocidal violence against the Palestinian people.”

Continue reading at https://www.ohchr.org/sites/default/files/documents/hrbodies/hrcouncil/sessions-regular/session55/advance-versions/a-hrc-55-73-auv.pdf

Watch https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=epKY2ZzjZUc

Q&A https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b8512p-80wI

UN experts condemn ‘flour massacre’, urge Israel to end campaign of starvation in Gaza by Michael Fakhri

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  • “Israel has been intentionally starving the Palestinian people in Gaza since 8 October. Now it is targeting civilians seeking humanitarian aid and humanitarian convoys,” the UN experts said. 
  • … Israeli troops fired on crowds of Palestinians gathered to collect flour in the south-west of Gaza City on 29 February, killing at least 112 people and injuring some 760.
  • “The attack came after Israel has denied humanitarian aid into Gaza City and northern Gaza for more than a month,” the experts said.
  • They noted that the 29 February massacre followed a pattern of Israeli attacks against Palestinian civilians seeking aid, with over 14 recorded incidents of shooting, shelling and targeting groups gathered to receive urgently needed supplies from trucks or airdrops between mid-January and the end of February 2024.
  • “Israel has also opened fire on humanitarian aid convoys on several occasions, despite the fact that the convoys shared their coordinates with Israel,” the experts said.
  • On 26 January, the International Court of Justice recognised the plausibility of Israel committing genocide and ordered it to allow the delivery of urgently needed basic services and humanitarian aid to Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.

… Fifteen children have already died of malnutrition at Kamal Adwan Hospital in Gaza City, and there are fears that the figures could be higher in other hospitals. 

Continue reading at https://www.ohchr.org/en/press-releases/2024/03/un-experts-condemn-flour-massacre-urge-israel-end-campaign-starvation-gaza

Arms exports to Israel must stop immediately: UN experts on United Nations Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner

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  • “The need for an arms embargo on Israel is heightened by the International Court of Justice’s ruling on 26 January 2024 that there is a plausible risk of genocide in Gaza and the continuing serious harm to civilians since then”, the experts said. The Genocide Convention of 1948 requires States parties to employ all means reasonably available to them to prevent genocide in another state as far as possible. “This necessitates halting arms exports in the present circumstances”, the experts said.
  • The experts welcomed the suspension of arms transfers to Israel by Belgium, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands and the Japanese company Itochu Corporation. The European Union also recently discouraged arms exports to Israel.
  • The experts urged other States to immediately halt arms transfers to Israel, including export licenses and military aid. The United States and Germany are by far the largest arms exporters and shipments have increased since 7 October 2023. Other military exporters include France, the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia.

…“State officials involved in arms exports may be individually criminally liable for aiding and abetting any war crimes, crimes against humanity or acts of genocide,” the experts said. “All States under the principle of universal jurisdiction, and the International Criminal Court, may be able to investigate and prosecute such crimes.”

Continue reading at https://www.ohchr.org/en/press-releases/2024/02/arms-exports-israel-must-stop-immediately-un-experts

States must reinstate and strengthen support to UNRWA amid unfolding genocide in Gaza: UN experts on United Nations Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner

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  • With the ICJ alerting the international community to the risk of genocide in Gaza and ordering immediate and effective action to ensure the provision of humanitarian assistance to civilians, states must do more, including to avoid legal consequences for aiding and abetting, or possible complicity in acts of genocide,” they said. “Instead of castigating the agency that provides critical support for millions of Palestinians in Gaza, states must exhaust all efforts to avert serious violations of international law, including genocide—and this necessitates continued international support of UNRWA’s vital humanitarian services.”

Continue reading at https://www.ohchr.org/en/press-releases/2024/02/states-must-reinstate-and-strengthen-support-unrwa-amid-unfolding-genocide

Gaza: ICJ ruling offers hope for protection of civilians enduring apocalyptic conditions, say UN experts by UN Special Rapporteur Francesca Albanese and others

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  • GENEVA (31 January 2024) – The landmark ruling by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) offers the first concrete hope to protect civilians in Gaza enduring apocalyptic humanitarian conditions, destruction, mass killing, wounding and irreparable trauma, UN experts* said today… The court order is urgently needed to protect the very existence of the Palestinian people…

Continue reading at https://www.ohchr.org/en/press-releases/2024/01/gaza-icj-ruling-offers-hope-protection-civilians-enduring-apocalyptic

States defunding UNRWA may be violating genocide convention: expert on The New Arab

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  • A UN expert warned Sunday that countries defunding the UN agency for Palestinian refugees were breaching a court order to provide effective aid in Gaza and could be violating the international genocide convention.
  • A number of donor countries – including Australia, Britain, Finland, Germany and Italy – on Saturday followed the lead of the United States in suspending additional funding to UNRWA.
  • That came after Israel alleged that several of the UN agency’s staff members were involved in Hamas’s 7 October attack. The Israeli allegations were based on confessions obtained in interrogations and have not been independently investigated. Israel has killed more than 150 UNRWA staff in Gaza since the start of its latest offensive on Gaza.
  • Francesca Albanese, the UN special rapporteur for the occupied Palestinian territories, warned that the decision to pause funding to UNRWA “overtly defies” the order by the International Court of Justice to allow effective humanitarian assistance” to reach Gazans.
  • “This will entail legal responsibilities – or the demise of the (international) legal system,” she wrote on X, formerly Twitter.

Watch at https://www.newarab.com/news/gaza-defunding-unrwa-may-be-violating-genocide-convention

Over one hundred days into the war, Israel destroying Gaza’s food system and weaponizing food, say UN human rights experts by Special Rapporteur on the right to food, Michael Fakhri and others

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  • “We have raised the alarm of the risk of genocide several times reminding all governments they have a duty to prevent genocide. Not only is Israel killing and causing irreparable harm against Palestinian civilians with its indiscriminate bombardments, it is also knowingly and intentionally imposing a high rate of disease, prolonged malnutrition, dehydration, and starvation by destroying civilian infrastructure,” said the experts. “Aid needs to be delivered to Gazans immediately and without any hindrance to prevent starvation.”

Continue reading at https://www.ohchr.org/en/press-releases/2024/01/over-one-hundred-days-war-israel-destroying-gazas-food-system-and