UN Urges Parties to Spare Civilian Lives in Israel and Palestine
October 13, 2023
A man looks over a collapsed building in Gaza. © UNRWA/Mohammed Hinnawi
Cited article by the United Nations
HRRC shares deep concerns with the UN regarding the investigation into human rights abuses in Israel and Palestine, given the ongoing crisis. We stress the urgent need for impartial inquiries in the region and call for sustained global attention to ensure justice for the victims.
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Türk called for an immediate end to the targeting of civilians and the release of hostages by all parties in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories. Türk expressed deep shock and horror at allegations of summary executions and mass killings by Palestinian armed groups, emphasizing that civilians should never be used as bargaining chips. He also warned against indiscriminate or disproportionate action in Gaza, expressing concern about the Israeli authorities' imposition of a "full siege" on the territory, which cut off essential supplies like electricity, water, food, and fuel, citing that collective punishment of an entire population is prohibited by international humanitarian law. UN humanitarian agencies reported dire conditions for civilians in Gaza, where nearly 140,000 newly displaced people sought shelter in UNRWA-run schools. UNRWA spokesperson Tamara Alrifai noted that airstrikes had damaged 18 UNRWA facilities in Gaza, affecting food, education, and health services for the 1.7 million Palestinian refugees. She refuted allegations of UNRWA facilities being used for armed operations, emphasizing the agency's commitment to ensuring their immunity from use by warring parties. Additionally, UN health agency WHO highlighted the pressing mental health needs and the urgent necessity for a humanitarian corridor to provide critical supplies to affected populations. UNICEF underscored the fear and suffering experienced by children in Gaza and Israel, calling for an end to the cycle of violence that has affected over one million children in need of humanitarian aid in the region.