• January 25, 2008

UN Human Rights Council calls for immediate lifting of Gaza Siege

UN Human Rights Council calls for immediate lifting of Gaza Siege

The United Nations Human Rights Council Thursday expressed its grave concern at Israel”s repeated military attacks carried out in the Palestinian territories, particularly in Gaza, which resulted in loss of lives and injuries among Palestinian civilians, including women and children.

It called for international action to pressure Israel into allowing fuel, food, medicine and other essential items to be sent to the Gaza Strip and to reopen the border crossings.

The session was called by 21 of the council’s 47 members, and a resolution criticising Israel was tabled by Pakistan and Syria on behalf of the Islamic and Arab blocs. The United States and Israel were not present for the session, an AFP reporter on the scene noted. Neither country is a member of the council but both can attend as observers.

In a resolution adopted by the Council, 30 votes in favor, one against (Canada) and 15 abstentions, the Council expressed its deep concern about “the series of incessant and repeated Israeli military attacks and incursions,” which it said had killed and injured many Palestinian civilians.

The resolution also called for an immediate lifting of the siege imposed by Israel and the immediate protection of civilians in the occupied Palestinian territory. The Council recognized that the Israeli siege imposed on Gaza Strip, including closing the border crossings and cutting the supply of fuel, food and medicine, constitutes a collective punishment of the Palestinian civilians and leads to disastrous consequences.

The resolution also requested the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to report to the Council, at its next session, on the progress made in the implementation of this resolution.