13 July 2014

Amnesty calls for UN investigation into civilian deaths in Israel/Gaza

As the Israelis and the Palestinians once again indiscriminately launch missiles at each other, the human rights group Amnesty International is calling for "a UN-mandated international investigation into violations committed on all sides."

According to Amnesty, "[u]nder international humanitarian law, parties to an armed conflict must distinguish between military targets and civilians and civilian objects, and direct attacks only at the former. Indiscriminate and disproportionate attacks are prohibited. The parties must take necessary precautions during attacks to minimize harm to civilians and civilian objects."

Regardless, since the current hostilities began to escalate last week, "more than 100 Palestinians have been killed in the Gaza Strip, most of them civilians who were not directly participating in hostilities. This includes at least 24 children and 16 women as of Friday morning. More than 600 people have been wounded, many of them seriously. More than 340 homes in Gaza have been completely destroyed or left uninhabitable and at least five health facilities and three ambulances have been damaged. In Israel, at least 20 people have been wounded by rocket attacks and property has been damaged."

"As the violence intensifies there is an urgent need for the UN to mandate an international independent fact-finding mission to Gaza and Israel to investigate violations of international humanitarian law by all parties to the conflict. This is the first crucial step towards ensuring that those who have committed war crimes or other serious violations can be held accountable," said Philip Luther, Director of the Middle East and North Africa Program at Amnesty International.

"The international community must not repeat previous mistakes, standing by and watching the devastating consequences for civilians of both sides failing to abide by and enforce the laws of war. Swift UN action is needed as lives hang in the balance," Luther continued.

I agree. But I shall not hold my breath. :-/

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