UNITED NATIONS: A UN human rights expert has called on the international community must take “immediate and decisive” action to ensure that Israel ceases its violations of international law when responding to the ongoing demonstrations at the Gaza fence.
The Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, Michael Lynk, welcomed the findings and recommendations of the Commission of Inquiry into the deadly 2018 Palestinian protests in Gaza.
The Commission, which was mandated to investigate violations of international humanitarian and human rights laws, presented its findings last week.
“It found reasonable grounds to believe that, in all but two of the 189 fatalities investigated, the use of live ammunition by Israeli security forces against demonstrators was unlawful,” Lynk said.
“Accordingly, I support the Commission’s call for accountability with respect to those who used lethal fire unlawfully, and for those who drafted and approved the rules of engagement which permitted this illegal use of lethal fire.”
Among the dead were 35 children, 3 paramedics and 2 journalists. Another 6,106 demonstrators were wounded during the demonstrations.
The Special Rapporteur noted that, since the start of 2019, Israeli security forces have continued to respond to protests along the fence with tear gas, rubber coated bullets and live ammunition. As a result, a further five children have been killed in the past two months.
One such incident saw the killing with live ammunition of two boys (aged 14 and 17) on 8 February 2019, and following the protest, the death on 12 February 2019 of a 16-year-old Palestinian boy who was hit by a tear gas canister in the head.
According to human rights organizations, the three boys posed no threat to Israeli forces. More recently, on 22 February 2019, a 14-year-old Palestinian boy was killed by live ammunition during a protest east of Gaza city.