The Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS)
• Calls upon the United Nations Human Rights Council to hold a special session on the situation in Gaza.
• Calls upon the Security Council to send international forces to protect civilians.
• CIHRS urges Hamas to abide by the International Humanitarian Law and continue to enable injured Palestinians to get medical treatment in Egypt
December 30, 2008
The Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS) expresses its absolute condemnation of the brutal massacre perpetuated by Israeli occupation forces in Gaza which began Saturday 28 December. At the latest count these attacks have resulted in the death of some 360 Palestinians and the injury of more than 1400 others.
In this context, CIHRS strongly denounces the continuous bombardment of civilian areas by Israeli war planes and apache attack helicopters. These attacks demonstrate a flagrant disregard by Israeli military forces of International Humanitarian Law (in particular the Fourth Geneva Convention that governs the protection of civilians in armed conflicts). This disregard has caused the largest amount of civilian casualties in one of the bloodiest massacres in the 41 year Israeli occupation of the Palestinian Territories.
CIHRS further rejects Israeli claims aiming to legitimize their war crimes perpetuated against Palestinian people – as they collectively punish Palestinian citizens – under the pretexts of self-defense and the safeguard of Israeli civilians living in nearby Israeli villages. In this context, CIHRS affirms that the International Humanitarian Law incriminates reciprocal acts of retaliation targeting civilians in any conflict, regardless of their identities.
CIHRS calls upon the UN Security Council and the high contracting parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention, to urgently interfere, take immediate measures for halting such massacres, send international forces for providing international protection to the Palestinian people and put an end to the serious deterioration of humanitarian situations in the Gaza Strip.
CIHRS notes that it has urged the President of the UN Human Rights Council to call for the convention of a special session to consider the latest aggression against Gaza and halt the ongoing massacre in the Strip (please see www.cihrs.org). Furthermore, CIHRS has begun consultations with several international organizations to urge the UN Human Rights Council to assume its responsibility to put an end to these crimes and provide due protection for the Palestinian people. In addition to these measures CIHRS is urging Arab Governments members in the UN main Rights body to perform their duties of standing up for and supporting these demands.
CIHRS re-affirms its full solidarity with the Palestinian people’s struggle and their legitimate right to resist the Israeli occupation. However, CIHRS stresses that the armed Palestinian factions, particularly Hamas militias must abide by the International Humanitarian Law, which do not permit the endangering the lives of civilians.
CIHRS further urges Hamas to place humanitarian considerations above any political conflicts with the Egyptian Government, in a way that secures the transfer of the injured so that they may be provided with the best medical care to them outside Gaza. Hamas should also continue to facilitating access for medical and humanitarian relief supplies to Palestinian residents through the Rafah border crossing.
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