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UN Commission of Inquiry on Gaza hears moving testimony, seeks access

United Nations Independent Commission of Inquiry on the 2014 Gaza Conflict

GENEVA ( 23 December 2014) – The United Nations Independent Commission of Inquiry on the 2014 Gaza Conflict, (established under Resolution A/HRC/RES/S-21/1) continues to do its utmost to obtain access to the Gaza Strip, as well as the West Bank including East Jerusalem, and access to Israel, in order to fulfil its mandate. The Commission has repeatedly sought the cooperation of the Government of Israel to facilitate access so the Commissioners can meet face to face a wide range of victims of alleged violations and also the relevant authorities.  In the absence of a response from Israel, the Commission of Inquiry is still actively seeking the cooperation of the Government of Egypt, which has indicated it is ready to facilitate the Commissioners’ travel to Gaza as soon as the security situation permits travel there.

In the meantime, the Commission of Inquiry is in the process of interviewing a wide spectrum of witnesses and victims in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory using technology to overcome the physical distance. The testimony heard so far has been very moving and the Commissioners are deeply conscious of the enormous responsibility the victims have placed on them by trusting them with accounts of very intimate and traumatic experiences.

The Commissioners’ mandate from the Human Rights Council is, “to investigate all violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem, particularly in the occupied Gaza Strip, in the context of the military operations conducted since 13 June 2014, whether before, during or after”. The Commissioners wish to make it clear that they interpret this mandate to include investigations of the activities of Palestinian armed groups in Gaza, including attacks on Israel, as well as the Israeli military operation in the Gaza Strip and Israeli actions in the West Bank including East Jerusalem. The Commission of Inquiry is looking at a broad range of alleged violations committed by all parties, and is considering the full range of human rights, including economic, social and cultural rights.

The Commissioners personally wish to reassure all those who have suffered so intensely as a result of this conflict that they will do their utmost to fulfil their mandate to the best of their abilities. The three Commissioners have travelled to the region and plan follow-up trips in early 2015. They invite members of the public to make submissions to the Commission in English, Arabic, Hebrew or any UN official language, by post or email. Details of how to do this are given below.

Procedure for submissions:

Submissions may be sent:

By email to: coigaza@ohchr.org

By post to: The United Nations Independent Commission of Inquiry on the 2014 Gaza Conflict, Palais de Nations, CH-1211 Geneva, Switzerland.
Please indicate whether the submission, or any part of it, should be treated confidentially.

Submissions should be sent no later than 31 January 2015 in a written form and must include the contact details for the author(s) of the submission;

ENDS

For media requests, please contact the Information Officer of the Secretariat of the Commission of Inquiry by email: mediacoigaza@ohchr.org or by phone or text message on +41 79 8719824.