Al-Haq (Joint Statement)
Speaker: Ms Rania Muhareb (Al-Haq)
Joint Oral Intervention to the United Nations Human Rights Council
Al-Haq – Law in the Service of Man
Al Mezan Centre for Human Rights
The Palestinian Center for Human Rights
Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel
Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies
28th Special Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council on the deteriorating human rights situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem
In the past eight weeks, the Israeli occupying forces killed 115 Palestinians, including 15 children, at least 86 during peaceful Great Return March protests, violently suppressing assemblies that call for the realization of Palestinian refugees’ right of return and an end to Israel’s 11-year closure of the Gaza Strip, amounting to unlawful collective punishment.
Since March 30th 2018, Israel has injured some 3,650 Palestinians by live fire in attacks which were widespread and systematic. The Israeli occupying forces have wilfully caused serious injury to unarmed demonstrators and repeatedly committed wilful killings of protected persons, which may amount to grave breaches and war crimes.
Shoot-to-kill orders were issued at the highest levels of the Israeli military, reflecting Israel’s longstanding disregard for Palestinian life, no less in the seventieth year since the Nakba. On March 31st, the day after 15 Palestinians were killed in Gaza, the Israeli army stated that “everything was accurate and measured, and we know where every bullet landed.”
As Palestinians mark seventy years of gross violations of international law and ongoing forcible displacement and exile of millions of Palestinians, Israel’s brutal suppression of the Great Return March sends a stark message to the world, that Israel is accountable to no one. It is time to act against this longstanding impunity.
Our organisations call for an independent, transparent, and effective investigation and accountability for violations and suspected crimes committed during the Great Return March, within the scope of the rights of the demonstrators, including to life, to freedom of assembly and expression to demand an end to Israel’s occupation and closure, and the right of refugees to return, which Israel has sought to suppress for eight weeks in Gaza, and ever since the Nakba.