UN experts: strikes on Rafah camp are a flagrant violation of international law

Эксперты ООН: удары по лагерю в Рафахе – вопиющее нарушение международного права

Horrifying images of destruction, displacement and death are emerging from Rafah, UN experts say. UN experts: strikes on Rafah camp are a flagrant violation of international law Human rights

UN human rights activists have called Israeli air strikes on a camp for displaced civilians in Tel al-Sultan in Rafah “outrageous,” which have reportedly killed at least 46 people, including 23 women and children and older people. Experts have demanded decisive international action to end the bloodshed in Gaza.

“Horrific images of destruction, displacement and death are emerging from Rafah, including babies torn to pieces and people burned alive,” human rights activists said. 

“Reports received from the ground indicate that the strikes were indiscriminate and disproportionate, trapping people inside burning plastic tents, causing horrific casualties,” they said. 

Human rights activists stressed that “these barbaric attacks are a flagrant violation of international law.”

At least 46 Palestinians were reportedly killed in an Israeli airstrike on Tel. al-Sultan in Rafah on the night of Sunday, May 26, hundreds were seriously injured and burned. On Tuesday, another attack in the al-Mawasi humanitarian zone, west of Rafah, reportedly killed 21 Palestinians, including 13 women.

Attacks on sites known as safe havens for displaced people, including women, children, the disabled and the elderly, constitute a serious violation of the laws of war, experts said.

“Even If Israeli leaders now say the strikes were a “mistake,” they bear international legal responsibility. Calling it a mistake will not make the strikes legal, will not bring back those killed in Rafah and will not console the mourners,” human rights activists said.

Even if the Israeli leaders now say the strikes were a “mistake” and they bear international legal responsibility

They recalled that the attack occurred shortly after a ruling by the International Court of Justice, which ordered Israel to immediately cease its military offensive and any other actions in Rafah that could lead to acts of a “genocidal nature.” Experts said Israel flagrantly ignored that directive during Sunday night’s attack. The Court’s rulings are binding, they recalled. 

“Israel, which has enjoyed decades of impunity for its crimes against the Palestinian people, as well as for its brutal attacks on the population Gaza for the past eight months must comply with [the decisions of the International Court of Justice],” the experts said.

They demanded an independent international investigation into the attacks on camps for displaced persons in Rafah. “Those responsible for these atrocities must be brought to justice,” human rights activists emphasized.

They called on the international community to impose sanctions and take other measures to force Israel to comply with international law. 

“The flow of weapons into Israel must stop immediately. It is clear that these weapons are being used to brutally kill and maim Palestinian civilians,” UN experts said.

“A staggering five percent of Gaza’s population was killed or wounded more than 70 percent of houses were destroyed, more than 75 percent of people were displaced. The agony of the people of Gaza must end,” they said.

Experts expressed deep disappointment at the failure of the international community to come together to stop the brutal Israeli attack, which has endangered both the Palestinians and and Israeli hostages.

Statements were made by the Special Rapporteur on the rights of internally displaced persons, Paula Gaviria Betancourt, and the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian Territory, Francesca Albanese and a number of other UN human rights defenders.

Special Rapporteurs are part of the so-called Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. They work on a voluntary basis, are not UN employees and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent of any government or organization.

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