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UN Human Rights office 'profoundly shocked' at impact on civilians of Israel hostage rescue mission

June 12, 2024 at 7:54 am

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Turk leaves a press conference in Geneva, on December 6, 2023 [FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP via Getty Images]

The UN Human Rights office said, Tuesday, it is “profoundly shocked” at the impact on civilians of Israeli forces’ weekend hostage rescue operation in Nuseirat and deeply distressed that Palestinian armed groups continue to hold many hostages, most of them civilians, Anadolu Agency reports .

“We are profoundly shocked at the impact on civilians of the Israeli forces’ operation in An-Nuseirat at the weekend to secure the release of four hostages,” Jeremy Laurence, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights spokesperson, told a press conference.

He said hundreds of Palestinians, many of them civilians, were reportedly killed and injured.

“The manner in which the raid was conducted in such a densely populated area seriously calls into question whether the principles of distinction, proportionality and precaution – as set out under the laws of war – were respected by the Israeli forces.

“Our office is also deeply distressed that Palestinian armed groups continue to hold many hostages, most of them civilians, which is prohibited by international humanitarian law.”

READ: ‘No warning, just bombs’: Heart-wrenching testimonies from Gaza’s Nuseirat Camp massacre

He said holding hostages in densely populated areas puts the lives of civilians at risk as well as the lives of the hostages.

“All these actions, by both parties, may amount to war crimes,” said Lawrence.

He said that the UN Human Rights chief, Volker Turk, welcomes Security Council Resolution 2735 calling for a “full and complete ceasefire” and the release of hostages held by Palestinian armed groups.

Turk said it also calls for the return of the remains of dead hostages and the exchange of Palestinian prisoners.

“An immediate priority must be to ensure the full and unfettered flow of humanitarian aid to the desperate population of Gaza,” said Turk.

Turk called on the parties and “third states”, in particular, those with influence over the parties to the conflict, to maximise efforts to work towards the goal of a peaceful future in which Israelis and Palestinians can fully enjoy all human rights and live side by side

World Health Organisation (WHO) spokesperson, Tarik Jasarevic, said at the press conference that Israeli authorities need to allow Palestinian health facilities in Gaza to be able to operate.

READ: Killing of Gaza civilians as Israel freed hostages could be war crimes, UN says