HRC 55 - UN HC for Human Rights on OPT
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Edited News , Conferences | HRC , OHCHR

HRC 55 UN HC for Human Rights on OPT

UN Rights Chief calls for an end to “carnage in Gaza”

 

After almost five months of constant Israeli bombardment and mass displacement in the Palestinian enclave which has left more than 30,000 dead, the UN rights chief Volker Türk told the Human Rights Council on Thursday that the “carnage in Gaza” has to stop.

 

“The war in Gaza must end. Clear violations of international human rights and humanitarian laws, including war crimes and possibly other crimes under international law, have been committed by all parties,” Mr. Türk said. “It is time, well past time, for peace, investigation and accountability.”

 

In his report to the 47 Member States forum, Mr. Türk underscored that the attacks on Israeli civilians on 7 and 8 October were “shocking, profoundly traumatizing and totally unjustifiable”. He described the torture and sexual violence reportedly inflicted by Hamas and other Palestinian armed groups as “appalling and entirely wrong.” 

 

Also wrong, the High Commissioner said, is the brutality of the Israeli response with “the unprecedented level of killing and maiming of civilians in Gaza.” It is estimated that one out of every 20 inhabitants of Gaza have been killed or wounded. 

 

“Thousands of tons of munitions have been dropped by Israel on Gaza, including repeated use of explosive weapons with wide area effects,” said Mr. Türk. “These weapons send out massive blast wave of high pressure that may rupture internal organs as well as fragmentation projectiles and heat so intense that it causes deep burns - and they have been used in densely populated residential neighborhoods.”

 

The report by the Human Rights Office noted that between 8 and 21 October 2023, Israel imposed a complete ban on all supply of aid, food, fuel and electricity to Gaza. Since then, Israel has continued to hinder humanitarian assistance.

 

“All people in Gaza are at imminent risk of famine. Almost all are drinking salty and contaminated water,” said the UN High Commissioner. “Healthcare across the territory is barely functioning. Just imagine what this means for the wounded, and for people suffering infectious disease outbreaks. In northern Gaza, where the operational space for humanitarian work is now almost zero, many are already believed to be starving.”

 

Mr. Türk issued a stark warning, that the prospect of an Israel ground assault on Rafah would take the nightmare being inflicted on people in Gaza to a new dimension. Over 1,5 million people are sheltering in Rafah, despite continuing bombardment it has become Gaza’s humanitarian aid hub. He said that he believed such  an operation would be inconsistent with the binding provisional measures issued by the International Court of Justice to prevent genocide against Palestinians in Gaza. 

 

The High Commissioner reminded the Council that the goal is to achieve a safer, more peaceful future for all. “We must hold on to the promise that peace is achievable in the occupied Palestinian territory and Israel,” he said. “For that to work, the occupation must end. Israeli leaders must accept the right of Palestinians to live in an independent state and all Palestinian factions must accept the right of Israel to exist in peace and security.”

 

Israel’s Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva, Meirav Eilon Shahar, insisted on her countries right to defend itself. There was “no choice,” she said. “We must go after Hamas or they will continue to come after us,” the Ambassador stated, “ as Hamas rained down rockets on us, even as our hostages remain in captivity, even as Hamas continues to carry out heinous terrorist attacks, Israel is absolutely committed to conducting itself in accordance with IHL (International Humanitarian Law).”

 

Sitting with two freed Israeli hostages - Aviva Siegel and Raz Ben Ami - who held hands to support one another during the debate, the Israeli ambassador asked the Council: “If Israel withdraws from Gaza tomorrow, do you think Hamas would lay down its arms? Do you think Hamas will commit to not rebuilding its tunnel, and restoring its terrorist arsenal and instead commit to justice and peace? You think, if Israel stops this war today, Hamas will return all our hostages tomorrow? Mister High Commissioner, the answer is simply no!”

 

Palestinian representative Ibrahim’s  Khraishi earned  spontaneous applause after his statement:  “It is enough! The world is witnessing this crime and this genocide.  Everyone says or tries to believe this false claim as she (the Israeli Ambassador) just mentioned that they respect the law.”

 

Ambassador Khraishi noted that “unfortunately nobody remembers or condemns the killing of children, women and the elderly.” Some 12,000 children and 8,000 women were among the victims from the conflict, Mr. Khraishi said.

 

He also reminded the Council that it should ”take into consideration the fact that things have not started on 7th October. 75 years of Nakba, 56 years of occupation, 17 years of siege. No one remembers that there were more than 19,000 Palestinian civilian martyrs from (the year) 2000 to October 7th (2023). We did not hear any condemnation from anyone. There is a moral, humanitarian and racial fall.”

 

-ends- 

STORY: UN High Commissioner for Human Rights on OPT

TRT: 4:44”

SOURCE: UNTV CH 

RESTRICTIONS: NONE 

LANGUAGE: ENGLISH / NATS 

ASPECT RATIO: 16:9 

DATELINE: 29 February 2024 GENEVA, SWITZERLAND 

 

SHOTLIST

  1. Exterior medium shot: UN flag alley at the United Nations Office in Geneva
  2. Wide shot: Human Rights Room with ceiling and delegates
  3. SOUNDBITE (English) – Volker Türk, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights: “The war in Gaza must end. Clear violations of international human rights and humanitarian laws, including war crimes and possibly other crimes under international law, have been committed by all parties. It is time, well past time, for peace, investigation and accountability.”
  4. Medium shot: Photographers and huge screen showing speakers at the podium
  5. SOUNDBITE (English) – Volker Türk, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights: “Thousands of tons of munitions have been dropped by Israel on Gaza, including repeated use of explosive weapons with wide area effects. These weapons send out massive blast wave of high pressure that may rupture internal organs as well as fragmentation projectiles and heat so intense that it causes deep burns - and they have been used in densely populated residential neighborhoods.”
  6. Close up: Delegate of Israel
  7. SOUNDBITE (English) – Volker Türk, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights: “All people in Gaza are at imminent risk of famine. Almost all are drinking salty and contaminated water. Healthcare across the territory is barely functioning. Just imagine what this means for the wounded, and for people suffering infectious disease outbreaks. In northern Gaza, where the operational space for humanitarian work is now almost zero, many are already believed to be starving.”
  8. Close up: Delegate of State of Palestine
  9. SOUNDBITE (English) – Volker Türk, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights: “And yet we must hold on to the promise that peace is achievable in the occupied Palestinian territory and Israel. For that to work, the occupation must end. Israeli leaders must accept the right of Palestinians to live in an independent state and all Palestinian factions must accept the right of Israel to exist in peace and security.”
  10. Medium shot: Delegate of Israel
  11.  SOUNDBITE (English) – Meirav Eilon Shahar, Permanent Representative of Israel to the United Nations in Geneva: “We have no choice we must go after Hamas or they will continue to come after us. But let me be clear. Even as Hamas rained down rockets on us, even as our hostages remain in captivity, even as Hamas continues to carry out heinous terrorist attacks, Israel is absolutely committed to conducting itself in accordance with IHL (International Humanitarian Law).”
  12. Medium shot: Photographers taking pictures
  13.  SOUNDBITE (English) – Meirav Eilon Shahar, Permanent Representative of Israel to the United Nations in Geneva: “If Israel withdraws from Gaza tomorrow, do you think Hamas would lay down its arms? Do you think Hamas will commit to not rebuilding its tunnel, and restoring its terrorist arsenal and instead commit to justice and peace? You think, if Israel stops this war today, Hamas will return all our hostages tomorrow? Mister High Commissioner, the answer is simply no!”
  14. Wide shot, photographer taking pictures, delegates in the room
  15. SOUNDBITE (Arabic) Ibrahim Khraishi, Permanent Representative to the United Nations Office in Geneva, State of Palestine:
    “It is enough! The world is witnessing this crime and this genocide. Everyone says or tries to believe this false claim as she (the Israeli Ambassador) just mentioned that they respect the law. But unfortunately, some also condemn what happened on October 7th in the strongest terms, but nobody remembers or condemns the killing of children, women, and the elderly.”
  16. Close up: Cameras filming
  17. SOUNDBITE (Arabic) – Ibrahim Khraishi, Permanent Representative of the State of Palestine to the United Nations Office in Geneva: “You should take into consideration the fact, that things have not started on 7th October. 75 years of Nakba, 56 years  of occupation, 17 years of siege. No one remembers that there were more than 19 000 Palestinian civilian martyrs from 2000 to October 7th. We did not hear any condemnation from anyone. There is a moral, humanitarian and racial fall.”
  1. Wide shot, speakers at the podium, big screen on the side showing delegates
  2. Close up: Delegates of the United States of America listening
  3. Close up: Delegate of Iran


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