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Israel’s total siege of Gaza ‘prohibited’ by international law, UN says

October 10, 2023 at 8:08 pm

A view of debris after Israeli airstrikes at al-Shati refugee camp in Gaza Strip on 09 October 2023 [Ali Jadallah – Anadolu Agency]

Israel’s total siege of the Gaza Strip, depriving civilians of goods essential for survival, is banned under international law, the United Nations Human Rights chief said on Tuesday, Reuters reports.

According to the report, Volker Turk, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said people’s dignity and lives had to be respected as he called for all sides to defuse the “explosive powder-keg situation.”

Turk also condemned “horrifying mass killings by members of Palestinian armed groups” and said the militants’ abduction of hostages was also forbidden under international law.

Turk said Israel’s “imposition of sieges that endanger the lives of civilians by depriving them of goods essential for their survival is prohibited under international humanitarian law”.

“This risks seriously compounding the already dire human rights and humanitarian situation in Gaza, including the capacity of medical facilities to operate, especially in light of increasing numbers of injured,” he said, adding that a siege may amount to “collective punishment”.

READ: UN Rights chief condemns Israeli siege of Gaza