The Caribbean Against Apartheid in Palestine [CAAP] and the Caribbean Peace Movement have called upon 15 Caribbean nations to support calls for an urgent United Nations investigation into the recent deaths of civilians in the Gaza Strip and Syria.
“As a people who have endured the abomination of slavery, we in CARICOM (Caribbean Community) should be in the forefront of defending human rights globally,” Secretary of CAAP Lalu Hanuman said in a press statement today.
Some 32 Palestinians have been killed over the past ten days in protests as part of the Great March of Return. Some ten Gazans died over the weekend, with over 1,000 injured as Israeli forces fired live ammunition and tear gas at protesters. Al-Quds Press also reports that the military have been using drones to drop “strange gases” on the demonstrations, causing protesters’ bodies to convulse, tremble and lose consciousness.
“They [Gazans] have a right to protest against their appalling conditions and the continuing blockade and occupation of Palestinian land, and in support of their right to return to their homes and their right to self-determination. Firing live ammunition into crowds of unarmed civilians is a crime against humanity,” the statement read.
The organisations also addressed the chemical weapons attack in the Damascus suburb of Douma last Saturday, which left over 70 people dead. Syrian regime forces stepped up their bombardment on Eastern Ghouta at the end of February forcing thousands of families to take shelter in basements. Civilians emerged from their homes this week as the fighting lessened only to face suffocation.
“This serious allegation needs to be diligently investigated by an independent commission to establish the facts and to apportion culpability, and not to be used as a pretext for military action nor to distract from domestic politics in Washington, London, or Paris,” the NGOs demanded, referring to reports that the US is looking to form a military coalition with the UK and France to respond to the attack.
Along with the Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS), the White Helmets have documented over 200 chemical weapons attacks in Syria since the start of the war.
On 4 April 2017 a regime chemical attack hit Khan Sheikhoun in rural Idlib in the north of Syria, killing over 100 and injuring hundreds more. On 21 August 2013 the Syrian military attacked opposition-held areas in the Damascus suburbs with chemical weapons killing 1,500 civilians.
“Both the atrocities on the Gaza border and the suffering of the Eastern Ghouta civilians are inextricably linked to the creation of the State of Israel, which has destabilised the entire region,” the statement concluded.