“Let us work together to replace despair with HOPE, fear with human SECURITY and humiliation with DIGNITY”

oral statement for the Ninth Special Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council on the situa

Franciscans International (FI) would like to express its deep concern about the recent events in Gaza and Southern Israel that have led to the loss of hundreds of civilian lives. The escalation of violence has completely disregarded the most basic principles of International Humanitarian Law leading to the present humanitarian tragedy.
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FI calls upon Israel and the Hamas leadership to immediately cease hostilities. The ceasefire is absolutely necessary in order to prevent the further targeting of the civilian population. This is true in the Southern Israeli towns attacked by rockets launched by Hamas and even more so in Gaza given the disproportionate military offensive by the Israeli Defense Force (IDF).

This military offensive has led to the deaths of nearly 900 Palestinians (a large number of them civilians, including children), almost 4,000 wounded and tens of thousands displaced in shelters or staying with host families. Essential civilian infrastructure including hospitals and those related to the provision of water and electricity has been damaged or destroyed. The military offensive adds further suffering to the civilian population in Gaza enduring the blockade, which prevents for example the arrival of food and medicines, making their humanitarian situation even more difficult. FI firmly believes that a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict does not rely on the use of force, which is not the way to achieve long lasting peace.

FI calls upon the United Nations Human Rights Council to:

– Condemn the targeting of civilians by both sides;
– Urge Israel and Hamas leadership to durably cease all hostilities, and to fully respect the principles of International Humanitarian Law;
– Considering the humanitarian and human rights consequences, urge Israel to:
o Allow full access to Gaza to humanitarian agencies;
o Lift the blockade;
o Cease all measures that amount to collective punishment of the civilian population;

– Call on Israel to fully cooperate with the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967;
– Review in its forthcoming March session the steps undertaken by the concerned actors to implement its recommendations.

While this emergency calls for intense diplomacy to bring about a cessation of all violence, the international community must not think that it will have met its responsibility by brokering only a localised ceasefire. Rather, its greater responsibility is to bring about a genuine peace treaty between Israel and Palestine, within a regional framework, which alone can make such a peace possible and secure.   

2009-01-13T06:48:36+00:00 January 13th, 2009|Categories: News|