Volker Türk Demands Ceasefire in Gaza and Israel
Civilians constitute the majority of those killed in both Gaza and Israel.
UN Human Rights Chief Volker Türk has called for a broad humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza and Israel. He also called on the parties to the conflict to redouble efforts to ensure proper compliance with international law.
“Far too many civilian lives, many of them children, have already been lost – on both sides – as a consequence of these hostilities. And, unless something changes, coming days will see more civilians on the brink of death from continuing bombardment. Humanity must come first,” the High Commissioner for Human Rights said in a statement released on October 23.
The humanitarian situation in Gaza, already strangled by 16 years of blockade, is now verging on catastrophe due to lack of water, power, sanitation, essential medicine, food, and other basic necessities, Türk said. Reports of overcrowding and spread of diseases are deeply worrying, even more so when hospitals are damaged and destroyed, there is a worsening shortage of medicines, and movement is heavily restricted.
“This violence will never end unless leaders stand up and take the brave and humane choices that are required by fundamental humanity. The first step must be an immediate humanitarian ceasefire, saving the lives of civilians through the delivery of prompt and effective humanitarian aid, throughout Gaza, provided according to need and not limited by any other, arbitrary criteria,” he added.
Since 7 October, more than 5,000 people in Gaza have been killed, including 2,000 children, mostly as a result of Israel Defense Forces (IDF) attacks and operations, as have 1,300 Israeli citizens and residents as a result of attacks by Palestinian armed groups.
#Israel/#OPT: “Humanity must come first,” says UN Human Rights Chief @volker_turk – urging humanitarian ceasefire & calling on parties to the conflict to redouble efforts to ensure proper compliance with international law. https://t.co/6X9SdZoMBh pic.twitter.com/U4hVVZZGpr
— UN Human Rights (@UNHumanRights) October 23, 2023
Civilians constitute the majority of those killed in both Gaza and Israel. Over 1,400, including 800 children, are reportedly trapped under rubble in Gaza. Tens of thousands of homes have been destroyed.
“All civilians captured and held by Palestinian armed groups must be released immediately and unconditionally. The taking and holding of hostages is prohibited by international law,” Türk said, adding that action by Israel to cut off civilians from access to essential goods and services as a form of collective punishment, also violates international law.
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