An international human rights group late Saturday called on the UN to have a “permanent” presence in the “Great March of Return” protests along the Gaza-Israel borders, which this year have seen at least 39 Palestinians martyred by Israeli forces.
According to a statement, the Swiss-based Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Observatory Human Rights Monitor sent a letter to the UN’s Clement Nyaletsossi Voule, the special rapporteur on the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association.
The letter urged a UN mission to monitor the protests along Gaza’s eastern border “to document the Israeli practices against protesters”.
Stressing that the demonstrations were “peaceful,” the statement accused Israeli soldiers of using “lethal force against unarmed protesters”.
“During the period between 30 March 2018 and 20 April 2018, Israeli snipers have killed 39 protesters, most of them unarmed civilians, and injured 5,000 others, including journalists. These protesters did not pose any threat to the lives of the Israeli soldiers,” the statement added.
During Friday’s protests, four Palestinians — including 15-year-old Mohammed Ibrahim Ayoub — were martyred by Israeli army gunfire.
The border rallies, which began on 30 March, are part of a six-week protest set to culminate on 15 May. That day will mark the 70th anniversary of Israel’s establishment — an event Palestinians refer to as “the Catastrophe.”
Demonstrators demand that Palestinian refugees be granted the “right of return” to their towns and villages in historical Palestine from which they were driven in 1948 to make way for the new state of Israel.