New York (May 19, 2018): The United Nations’ top human rights body has voted to send a team of international war crimes investigators to probe the deadly shootings of Gaza protesters by Israeli forces.
A resolution calling on the UN Human Rights Council to “urgently dispatch an independent, international commission of inquiry” was backed on Friday by 29 members.The members – United States and Australia – voted against and 14 abstained. Investigators must “investigate all alleged violations and abuses … in the context of the military assaults on large scale civilian protests that began on 30 March 2018”, the approved resolution said. The commission of inquiry will be asked to produce a final report next March.
The 28th Special Session of the Council “Violations of international law in the context of large-scale civilian protests in the #OPT, including East Jerusalem” has concluded.
The draft Resolution has been adopted by 29 votes in favor, 2 against, 14 abstentions. pic.twitter.com/C1MOS6aTPn
— HRC SECRETARIAT (@UN_HRC) May 18, 2018
Earlier on Friday, Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, the UN human rights chief, had backed calls for an international probe.
He heavily criticised Israel’s response to the weeks-long mass protests in the Gaza Strip as “wholly disproportionate”.Israel was an occupying power and under international law, it was obliged to protect the people of Gaza and ensure their welfare, he said. But instead Gaza residents were “caged in a toxic slum from birth to death”, added Zeid.
At least 62 Palestinians were killed and thousands were wounded in a single day of protests on Monday, but Zeid pointed out that “on the Israeli side, one soldier was reportedly wounded, slightly, by a stone”.
“There is little evidence of any attempt to minimise casualties on Monday,” said Zeid.
Since protests began on March 30, Israeli forces have killed 106 Palestinians, including 15 children. More than 12,000 have been wounded, at least 3,500 by live ammunition.