Creating new perspectives since 2009

UN Rights chief says essential to avoid conflagration in Gaza war

March 4, 2024 at 1:43 pm

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Turk gives a speech at the opening of the 55th session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva on February 26, 2024. [GABRIEL MONNET/AFP via Getty Images]

The United Nations Human Rights chief, on Monday, said it was imperative to avoid any exacerbation of the war in Gaza, warning that any conflagration could have broad repercussions across the Middle East and beyond the region, Reuters reports.

Addressing the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, Volker Turk said the war in Gaza, which has been raging since the 7 October attacks by Hamas gunmen in southern Israel, had already spilled over in neighbouring countries.

“I am deeply concerned that, in this powder keg, any spark could lead to a much broader conflagration,” said Turk, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.

“This would have implications for every country in the Middle East, and many beyond it.”

Turk described the military escalation in southern Lebanon between Israel, Hezbollah and other armed groups as “extremely worrying”.

“It is imperative to do everything possible to avoid a wider conflagration,” he said.

The Lebanese group, Hezbollah, and Israel have been locked in hostilities for months in parallel to the Gaza war. It has marked the worst conflict between them since 2006.

The Gaza war began when Hamas stormed Israel on 7 October in an attack that killed 1,200 people and resulted in another 253 being abducted, according to Israeli tallies.

However, since then, it has been revealed by Haaretz that helicopters and tanks of the Israeli army had, in fact, killed many of the 1,139 soldiers and civilians claimed by Israel to have been killed by the Palestinian Resistance.

The attack drew an Israeli offensive in Hamas-run Gaza. Health authorities in the enclave say more than 30,000 Palestinians have been confirmed killed during the offensive.

Turk said last week that war crimes had been committed by all parties in the conflict between Israel and Hamas. They should be investigated and those responsible be held accountable, he said.

READ: Israel sees wave of senior Israeli army officers resign