Human rights violations may amount to war crimes, UN warns

CENEVRE (CIHAN)- The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights has called on Israel, Hamas and all Palestinian armed groups not to target civilians in the current conflict.

Addressing the UN Human Rights Council at the start of a special session to discuss the situation in Gaza, Navi Pillay said that all sides must respect the right to life of civilians.

She stressed “respect for the right to life of civilians, including children, should be a foremost consideration. Not abiding by these principles may amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity.”

Pillay also reiterated calls for the Israeli economic blockade of the Gaza Strip to be lifted immediately.

She said that “the crippling effects of the Israeli blockade and other measures linked to the Israeli occupation of Gaza suppress the ability of the people to go about their daily lives and prevent them from rebuilding their lives and communities after repeated military operations.”

Pillay also noted that both Palestinians and Israelis deserve a peaceful existence, instead of a life of ‘chronic insecurity and recurring escalation in hostilities.

She pointed that a seven-year-old Palestinian child in Gaza has never known life outside occupation and is now living through his or her third experience of a major Israeli military operation.

Pillay also called on the UN Security Council and all states with influence to do more to end the conflict.

She stressed that powerful entities, such as the Security Council, and individual States with serious leverage over the must do far more to bring the conflict to an end.