UN Human Rights Briefing by Ravina Shamdasani on Israel OPT 17 October 2023
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432.4 MB

Edited News | OHCHR , UNOG

UN Human Rights Briefing by Ravina Shamdasani on Israel OPT 17 October 2023

“With a staggering 4,200 plus people killed, over one million people displaced in just 10 days, and large areas in the Gaza Strip reduced to rubble, we have grave fears about the toll on civilians in the coming days, military operations showing no signs of abating, a continued siege on Gaza affecting water supply, food, medicines and other basic needs and daily indications of violations of the laws of war and international human rights law,” said Shamdasani. . 

 

“The death toll includes a large number of women and children, as well as at least 11 Palestinian journalists, 28 medical staff and 14 UN colleagues. It remains unclear how many more bodies may be buried in the rubble – with many families missing loved ones, terrified about their uncertain fate,” she said. 

 

“With numerous health facilities hit by bombardment and others beyond breaking point, there are serious concerns about the accessibility of medical care for the many thousands injured – and for the estimated 50,000 pregnant women, as well as people with chronic physical and mental health issues,”she said.

 

“Appalling reports that civilians attempting to relocate to southern Gaza were struck and killed by an explosive weapon must be independently and thoroughly investigated, as must all allegations of serious violations of international humanitarian law,” Shamdasani said.

The current hostilities are compounding an already extremely limited enjoyment of the right to health resulting from the ongoing blockade of Gaza. Attacks against medical facilities, medical personnel and the wounded and sick are prohibited under international humanitarian law.

 

 

The UN Human Rights Office is urging  the Israeli Defense Forces to take immediate steps to avoid targeting civilians and civilian objects or conducting area bombardments, indiscriminate or disproportionate attacks, and to take precautions to avoid, and in any event to minimize, loss of civilian life, injury to civilians and damage to civilian objects. 

 

Those who managed to comply with the Israeli authorities’ order to evacuate are now trapped in the south of the Gaza Strip, with scant shelter, fast-depleting food supplies, little or no access to clean water, sanitation medicine and other basic needs.

 

“So far, around 400000 IDPs are sheltered in various locations, several in UNRWA buildings. International law requires that any lawful temporary evacuation by Israel, as the occupying power, of an area on the basis of the security of the population or imperative military reasons must be accompanied by the provision of proper accommodation for all evacuees, undertaken under satisfactory conditions of hygiene, health, safety and nutrition,” Shamdasani said.

 

There appears, according to the UN Human Rights spokesperson, to have been no attempt by Israel to ensure this for the 1.1 million civilians ordered to move.

 

We are concerned that this order combined with the imposition of a “complete siege” on Gaza may not be considered as a lawful temporary evacuation and would therefore amount to a forcible transfer of civilians – in breach of international law,” she said.

 

“The latest reports indicate that around 199 Israeli are held hostages by Palestinian armed groups in Gaza. And once again, we call for their immediate and unconditionally release,

Shamdasani said.

 

 The UN Human Rights spokesperson also spoke of the increased violence in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem. “Since 7 October, 52 Palestinians have been killed in the West Bank by Israeli security forces, and five more have been killed by settlers. We urge Israeli authorities to ensure that Israeli security forces refrain from the use live ammunition except as a last resort to address an imminent threat to life or serious injury and to take immediate steps to end settler violence against Palestinians and to ensure the protection of the Palestinian population,” she said. 

 

“Every effort must be made to ensure the strict compliance by all parties laws of war both in the conduct of hostilities and the treatment of civilians and persons hors de combat, and to ensure that life-saving humanitarian assistance is able to reach civilians in the Gaza Strip to prevent further unnecessary loss of life,” Shamdasani said.

 

ENDS

 

For more information and media requests, please contact: 

In Geneva

Ravina Shamdasani - + 41 22 917 9169 / ravina.shamdasani@un.org or 

Liz Throssell - +41 22 917 9296 / elizabeth.throssell@un.org or

Jeremy Laurence +  +41 22 917 9383 / jeremy.laurence@un.org or

Marta Hurtado - + 41 22 917 9466 marta.hurtadogomez@un.org

 

In Nairobi

Seif Magango - +254 788 343 897 / seif.magango@un.org

 

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  1. Exterior shot: Palais des Nations, Geneva.
  2. Soundbite (English)— Ravina Shamdasani, spokesperson, UN Human Rights: “With a staggering 4,200 plus people killed, over one million people displaced in just 10 days, and large areas in the Gaza Strip reduced to rubble, we have grave fears about the toll on civilians in the coming days, with military operations showing no signs of abating, a continued siege on Gaza affecting water supply, food, medicines and other basic needs and daily indications of violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law.”
  3. Cutaways: Briefing room
  4. Soundbite (English)— Ravina Shamdasani, spokesperson, UN Human Rights: “The death toll includes a large number of women and children, as well as at least 11 Palestinian journalists, 28 medical staff and 14 UN colleagues. It remains unclear how many more bodies may be buried in the rubble – with many families missing loved ones, terrified about their uncertain fate.”
  5. Cutaways: Briefing room
  6. Soundbite (English)— Ravina Shamdasani, spokesperson, UN Human Rights: “With numerous health facilities hit by bombardment and others beyond breaking point, there are serious concerns about the accessibility of medical care for the many thousands injured – and for the estimated 50,000 pregnant women, as well as people with chronic physical and mental health issues.”
  7. Cutaways: Briefing room
  8. Soundbite (English)— Ravina Shamdasani, spokesperson, UN Human Rights: “Appalling reports that civilians attempting to relocate to southern Gaza were struck and killed by an explosive weapon must be independently and thoroughly investigated as must all allegations of serious violation of International Humanitarian Law .”
  9. Cutaways: Briefing room
  10. Soundbite (English)— Ravina Shamdasani, spokesperson, UN Human Rights: “So far, around 400000 IDPs are sheltered in various locations, several in UNRWA buildings. International law requires that any lawful temporary evacuation by Israel, as the occupying power, of an area on the basis of the security of the population or imperative military reasons must be accompanied by the provision of proper accommodation for all evacuees, undertaken under satisfactory conditions of hygiene, health, safety and nutrition.”
  11. Cutaways: Briefing room
  12. Soundbite (English)— Ravina Shamdasani, spokesperson, UN Human Rights:We are concerned that this order combined with the imposition of a “complete siege” on Gaza may not be considered as a lawful temporary evacuation and would therefore amount to a forcible transfer of civilians – in breach of international law.”
  13. Cutaways: Briefing room
  14. Soundbite (English)— Ravina Shamdasani, spokesperson, UN Human Rights: “The latest reports indicate that around 199 Israeli are held hostages by Palestinian armed groups in Gaza. And once again, we call for their immediate and unconditionally release.
  15. Cutaways: Briefing room
  16. Soundbite (English)— Ravina Shamdasani, spokesperson, UN Human Rights: “Since 7 October, 52 Palestinians have been killed in the West Bank by Israeli security forces, and five more have been killed by settlers. We urge Israeli authorities to ensure that Israeli security forces refrain from the use live ammunition except as a last resort to address an imminent threat to life or serious injury and to take immediate steps to end settler violence against Palestinians and to ensure the protection of the Palestinian population.”
  17. Cutaways: Briefing room
  18. Soundbite (English)— Ravina Shamdasani, spokesperson, UN Human Rights: “Every effort must be made to ensure the strict compliance by all parties to international humanitarian law both in the conduct of hostilities and the treatment of civilians and persons hors de combat, and to ensure that life-saving humanitarian assistance is able to reach civilians in the Gaza Strip to prevent further unnecessary loss of life.”
  19. Cutaways: Briefing room

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