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人权理事会召开有关巴勒斯坦被占领土人权状况的特别会议(部分翻译)

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2014年7月23日

2014年7月23日

人权理事会今天上午召开了一场有关含东耶路撒冷在内的巴勒斯坦被占领土人权状况的特别会议。

人权理事会主席波德莱尔·恩东·艾拉大使表示,此次特别会议是应22个理事会成员国和16个观察员国的要求召开的。

联合国人权事务高级专员纳维·皮莱表示,自从以色列于7月7日宣布发起名为“护刃行动”的军事行动以来,加沙地带每天都遭到来自海陆空的密集轰炸,目前已导致600多名巴勒斯坦人丧生,其中包括147名儿童和74名妇女。在2009年和2012年发生的前两次危机中,最大的受害者也是加沙地带的无辜平民。问责是确保终止人权侵犯和有罪不罚的恶性循环的第一步。只有在双方都尊重人权和人类尊严的情况下才能实现持久和平,并最终实现自决权。

人道主义事务助理秘书长、副紧急救济协调员康京和表示,自打击开始以来,至少有18个医疗设施遭到空袭和炮击,其中包括联合国近东巴勒斯坦难民救济和工程处的五个医疗诊所。长达七年的封锁摧毁了加沙的经济,使其失业率居高不下且越来越依赖国际援助。该地区67%的人口靠联合国援助为生。国际社会和冲突各方必须践行其义务。

联合国近东巴勒斯坦难民救济与工程处法律事务部部长兰斯·巴托罗摩兹表示,截止昨天(7月22日)晚上为止,已有约118000名巴勒斯坦人在联合国近东巴勒斯坦难民救济与工程处设立的77所学校中寻求庇护。这相当于加沙地区人口的6%,比2008年至2009年冲突时期庇护所中的难民数增加了一倍。救济与工程处房地也受到冲突破坏。

巴勒斯坦被占领土人权状况特别报告员马卡里姆·维比索诺(Makarim Wibisono)在代表人权理事会特别程序协调委员会发言时表示,除了至少599名巴勒斯坦人遇害之外,大量房屋被损毁,使得数千家庭无家可归。与此同时,巴勒斯坦人民抵抗占领的权利也不应成为朝以色列平民发射数千火箭弹和迫击炮的理由。

以色列在作为当事国发言时对特别会议的召开提出批评,称其具有误导性、考虑不周且无益于结束敌对的努力。哈马斯向以色列城镇不加区别地发射火箭和导弹构成了战争罪。理事会应通过明确谴责哈马斯和坚决拒绝片面决议以恢复其道德权威。

巴勒斯坦在作为当事国发言时表示,巴勒斯坦人民的基本生命权受到了严重威胁。无数家庭遭到杀害,记者和医疗队也受到针对性打击。应设立一个实况调查团并与特别程序任务负责人一道访问加沙地带,以调查以色列犯下的人权侵犯行为。

在一般性辩论中,发言者呼吁以色列立即停止针对加沙地区平民和平民目标的行动,并呼吁哈马斯和其他武装团体停止向以色列发射火箭炮。发言者强调,各方应保持最大限度的克制,以避免平民伤亡和遭难。各方应尊重国际人道主义和人权法。许多发言者表示坚信中东和平只能通过谈判而非暴力实现,并支持联合国秘书长正在进行的外交努力。一些发言者支持成立负责调查侵犯人权和国际人道主义法的行为、从而避免有罪不罚现象和确保问责的独立调查委员会的提议。

在上午的辩论中发言的代表有:埃及代表阿拉伯集团,巴基斯坦代表伊斯兰合作组织,伊朗代表不结盟运动,埃塞俄比亚代表非洲集团,意大利代表欧盟及其他国家,委内瑞拉,巴西,美国,爱尔兰,印度尼西亚,俄罗斯,阿尔及利亚,阿联酋,阿根廷,巴基斯坦,奥地利,沙特阿拉伯,马尔代夫,科威特,哥斯达黎加,菲律宾,摩洛哥,印度,墨西哥,古巴,中国,英国,秘鲁,南非,德国,日本,智利,韩国,法国,卡塔尔,土耳其和埃及。

理事会将于今天下午3点再次召开会议,届时将听取其余国家和非政府组织的发言,随后将在特别会议闭幕前就提出的决议草案采取行动。这是人权理事会第二十一次特别会议。与特别会议相关的文件将在人权理事会网站上发布。

开幕致辞

人权理事会主席波德莱尔·恩东·艾拉表示,今天的人权理事会特别会议是应22个理事会成员国和16个观察员国的要求召开。这些成员国包括:阿尔及利亚、阿根廷、巴西、布基纳法索、智利、中国、古巴、加蓬、印度尼西亚、哈萨克斯坦、科威特、马尔代夫、摩洛哥、纳米比亚、巴基斯坦、秘鲁、俄罗斯联邦、沙特阿拉伯、南非、阿联酋、委内瑞拉和越南。观察员国包括:阿富汗、巴林、文莱达鲁萨兰国、厄瓜多尔、埃及、伊朗、约旦、黎巴嫩、马来西亚、卡塔尔、塞内加尔、巴勒斯坦国、苏丹、突尼斯、土耳其和也门。

联合国人权事务高级专员纳维·皮莱表示,自从以色列于7月7日宣布发起名为“护刃行动”的军事行动以来,加沙地带每天都遭到来自海陆空的密集轰炸,仅空袭就高达2100次。敌对局势已造成600多名巴勒斯坦人丧生,其中包括至少147名儿童和74名妇女。在2009年和2012年的前两次危机中,最大的受害者也是包括儿童、妇女、老年人和残疾人在内的加沙地带无辜平民。根据联合国的初步数据,目前有74%的遇难者是平民,另有数千人受伤。加沙地带数以百计的房屋和学校等其他民用建筑被摧毁或严重损害,超过14万巴勒斯坦人流离失所。冲突中还有两名以色列平民丧生,另有17人至32人报告因加沙地带发射的火箭炮和其他射弹受伤,27名以色列士兵在加沙地区的军事行动中死亡。哈马斯和其他武装团体从加沙地带不加区分地发射的2900多发火箭炮和迫击炮弹仍威胁着以色列平民的生命,皮莱女士再次对这种不分皂白的袭击表示谴责。将军事设施设在人口稠密地区或对这种地区发动袭击都是不可接受的。然而,国际法明确规定,一方的行为并不能免除另一方尊重国际法义务的需求。

高级专员强调不能针对平民发动袭击,并表示以色列、哈马斯和所有巴勒斯坦武装团体必须严格遵守国际人道主义和人权法。违反这些原则可能构成战争罪和危害人类罪。

七名在加沙海滩上玩耍的儿童于7月16日遭到明显的针对性袭击,这向所有人昭示了无视国际人道主义法和生命权的骇人事实。七名儿童全部被击中,其中四名同来自巴克尔(Bakr)家的年仅9至11岁的儿童遇难。这些儿童明显是未参与敌对行动的平民。据报道,次日加沙市沙布拉区(Al-Sabra)又有三名儿童身亡,两名儿童受伤,据称当时他们趁父母准备开斋饭时在自家屋顶玩耍,接着就遭到一枚无人机导弹袭击。过去16天内,加沙有147名儿童遇难,这些只是其中的一小部分事件。他们和其他所有国家的儿童一样拥有生命权。这些杀戮事件令人担心各方是否遵循了袭击中的区分、适度和预警原则。以色列儿童及其父母和其他平民也享有生命权,即不必一直担心从加沙发射的火箭可能落在自己的房子或学校上,导致其死亡或受伤。皮莱女士呼吁对所有这些事件进行适当和独立的调查。她还警告称加沙的当前局势降低了各方包括东耶路撒冷在内的被占约旦河西岸紧张局势的关注,并对通过社交媒体等方式煽动对巴勒斯坦人使用暴力的情况显著增加表示关切。她指出,只有需为犯罪行为负责的人才可依法受到惩罚,个人不能受到集体惩罚。

皮莱女士表示,作为占领国,以色列担负着义务,而巴勒斯坦人和以色列人都应该过上更好的生活,而不是经受长期不好劝和反复敌对行为升级,她希望各方能够积极响应秘书长对该地区的访问及其对立即停火的呼吁。问责是确保打破人权侵犯和有罪不罚循环的第一步。只有尊重双方的人权和人类尊严,并最终充分实现自决权,才能开启持久的和平。皮莱女士表示,所有死伤的平民都应对我们的良知带来巨大的冲击,因为所有旨在保护他们的努力均付诸东流。更多强有力的实体,例如安理会和能够对这场恐怖而漫长的冲突各方产生重大影响的个别国家,必须付出远比现在更多的努力,彻底终结这场冲突。

人道主义事务助理秘书长、副紧急救济协调员康京和表示,自以色列于7月7日发起名为“护刃行动”的军事行动以来,加沙地带已有超过599名巴勒斯坦人遇害,另有3504人受伤。加沙地带遇害者中有73%是平民,其中三分之一是儿童。人们在家中遭到轰炸,全家老小都被活埋在乱石之下。上周内,加沙附近的苏加亚(Shujaiya)地区有半数人口为躲避以色列的密集炮击而背井离乡。至少有18个医疗设施遭到空袭和炮击,其中包括联合国近东巴勒斯坦难民救济和工程处的五个医疗诊所。长达七年的封锁摧毁了加沙的经济,使其失业率居高不下且越来越依赖国际援助。该地区67%的人口靠联合国援助为生。已经极其落后的基础设施也受到目前冲突的严重影响。有必要强调的是,加沙地带的危机有可能引发进一步暴力。必须允许人道主义机构安全无阻地接触到有需要的人,因此需要暂停交火并停止对医疗设施和工作人员的袭击。国际社会和和冲突各方必须履行其义务。

联合国近东巴勒斯坦难民救济与工程处法律事务部部长兰斯·巴托罗摩兹表示,救济与工程处对加沙地带暴力升级及其对包括巴勒斯坦难民在内的平民造成的人员伤亡和身体伤害深感震惊,并严重受到影响。太多的人正在失去生命,而这次军事行动带来的重创将在未来几年中影响该地人民。巴勒斯坦人民对国际法和保护平民、防止和应对侵犯国际法行为的国际机制的能力产生了深刻的信任危机。由于军事行动的开展,加之加沙地带有超过40%的地区受到以色列撤离警告或“禁入区”声明的影响,成千上万的人继续逃往救济与工程处及其合作伙伴设立的庇护所。截止昨天(7月22日)晚上为止,已有约118000名巴勒斯坦人在救济与工程处设立的77所学校中寻求庇护。这相当于加沙地区人口的6%,比2008年至2009年冲突时期庇护所中的难民数增加了一倍。

救济与工程处房地也受到冲突破坏,其中77处受到空袭和其他火灾破坏,这是完全不能接受的。冲突各方在任何时候都必须遵守救济与工程处房地的中立性和不可侵犯性。加沙人民和身处加沙的巴勒斯坦难民的状况已变得完全不可持续。以色列的非法封锁加剧了该地的贫困程度,加沙地带的含水层也将在未来三至四年之间完全受到污染,使得该地基本不适合居住。如今,这些指标在轰炸、交火和对安全和生存的恐惧面前已黯然失色。虽然联合国近东巴勒斯坦难民救济与工程处充分认识到其具体职责是人道主义工作,它要求所有相关行为者考虑需要多久才能认识到只有通过政治手段才能制止目前严重威胁到数万人生命的暴力循环。

1967年以来巴勒斯坦被占领土人权状况特别报告员马卡里姆·维比索诺在代表人权理事会特别程序协调委员会发言时对持续敌对行为造成的伤亡、流离失所和破坏表示震惊。从敌对行为开始以来,勇敢的人权捍卫者和组织不顾自身安危,记录并披露了多项侵犯行为。除了至少599名巴勒斯坦人遇害之外,大量房屋被损毁,使得数千家庭无家可归。以色列的轰炸进一步破坏了维持生命所需的基础设施。加沙地区在最近的军事冲突之前曾长期遭到非法封锁,这使得该地的贫困水平引人担忧。与此同时,巴勒斯坦人民抵抗占领的权利也不应成为朝以色列平民发射数千火箭弹和迫击炮的理由。他敦促以色列允许人道主义食品、水、医疗和其他重要援助物资无受阻碍地送达所有平民和受影响地区,并停止非法封锁。埃及应缓和拉法通道的限制,并允许必要人道主义援助进入,而国际社会应尽其所能促进有效的和平进程。

当事国的发言

以色列常驻联合国代表埃维阿塔·马诺(EVIATAR MANOR)在作为当事国发言时对特别会议的召开提出批评,称其具有误导性、考虑不周且无益于结束敌对的努力。特拉维夫、耶路撒冷和贝尔谢巴上空2000枚火箭炮弹如雨下,而杀气腾腾的恐怖主义敢死队正从地下通道攻入以色列村庄,希望活命的以色列人除了自卫还有什么出路?在以色列保持克制的几周中,哈马斯绑架并杀害了三名以色列青少年,随后便对以色列城镇和村庄发射火箭炮。当火箭炮以每天300发的速度不分皂白地射向平民,以色列除了回击之外别无选择。每个国家都有自卫的权利,该原则也写在国际法中,世界任何其他国家若身处此境也会作出同样的选择。哈马斯在向以色列城镇不加区别地发射火箭和导弹时,在建造从加沙通往以色列的地下通道以袭击以色列村庄、绑架和谋杀以色列人民时都构成了战争罪,而发射2000枚火箭炮更是相当于2000次战争罪。以色列希望摧毁哈马斯的军事设施,但加沙地带的平民并不是以色列的敌人。以色列的军事行动仅针对哈马斯军事目标,这是符合国际法要求的。以色列对军事行动造成的任何平民伤亡深感遗憾并已开始调查。马诺先生总结道,理事会应通过明确谴责哈马斯和坚决拒绝片面决议以恢复其道德权威。理事会不能阻止以色列行使自卫权。

巴勒斯坦外交部长里亚德·马利基(RIAD MALKI)在作为当事国发言时表示,巴勒斯坦人民自1948年以来一直深陷苦海。两周多以来,巴勒斯坦平民都暴露在轰炸、海上和空中袭击以及地面入侵的伤害之下。巴勒斯坦人民的基本生命权受到了严重威胁,在海滩上玩耍的儿童也被占领军杀害。无数家庭惨遭不幸,记者和医疗队也受到针对性打击。自袭击开始以来,已有超过630名巴勒斯坦平民遇难。包括供水、道路和通讯网络在内的基础设施都被摧毁。占领军还对加沙地区的医疗中心、基督教和伊斯兰教礼拜场所进行针对性打击。以色列在巴勒斯坦被占领土上的所作所为是对国际人道主义法和日内瓦公约的公然违抗。以色列必须对其罪行负责,其迄今为止得以逍遥法外的事实正鼓励它重蹈覆辙。多少烈士的殉难才能使以色列停止暴行? 国际社会必须承担责任,理事会必须立即采取行动才能使以色列终止军事行动。应设立一个实况调查团并与特别程序任务负责人一道访问加沙地带,以调查以色列犯下的人权侵犯行为。现在正是结束以色列占领巴勒斯坦领土的时候。

General Debate

Egypt, speaking on behalf of the Arab Group, expressed alarm over the brutal attack launched by the occupying power over the last month. Israel had besieged Gaza with sophisticated weapons, targeting homes and health institutions, causing large numbers of casualties, injuries and displacement. The Arab Group and others had requested this Special Session to make the international community aware of its responsibilities in light of the grave and wide-ranging human rights violations against the people of Gaza. The draft resolution called for an independent Commission of Inquiry into those violations.

Pakistan, speaking on behalf of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, said the aggression with impunity taking place in Gaza was the continuation of systematic and gross human rights violations by the occupying power Israel, and its heinous crimes needed to be thoroughly investigated and perpetrators held accountable through the establishment of a commission of inquiry. The Organization of Islamic Cooperation also called for the resumption of the Conference of High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention.

Iran, speaking on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, condemned in the strongest terms the widespread systematic and gross violations by Israel of basic principles of international law. The Non-Aligned Movement was deeply disappointed by the failure of the Security Council to shoulder its responsibilities to bring an end to the unlawful Israeli aggression. An international commission of inquiry to investigate all violations with a view to ending impunity was necessary.

Ethiopia, speaking on behalf of the African Group, deplored the recent conflict in the Gaza Strip and surrounding areas, and all forms of attacks on civilians and public infrastructure. Israel was called upon to end all forms of attacks against civilians and to end the illegal blockade against Palestinians. Attacks from Palestine against Israel should also cease. The international community should deploy additional measures to safeguard the well-being of the people of Palestine and support their struggle for self-determination.

Italy, speaking on behalf of the European Union and other countries, condemned the loss of hundreds of civilian lives and called for an immediate cessation of the hostilities in Gaza. They welcomed and supported the efforts by regional partners, in particular Egypt. They strongly condemned the indiscriminate firing of rockets into Israel by Hamas, and, while recognizing Israel’s right to defend itself, also underlined that Israel’s military operation must be proportionate and in line with international humanitarian law.

Venezuela condemned the blatant violation of human rights and international humanitarian law by Israel’s political and military elite. Israel was seeking to exterminate the Palestinian people and to deprive them permanently of their historical legacy. Israel’s actions constituted a war crime and a crime against humanity. State terrorism had become a daily practice of the occupying power. Venezuela demanded that the brutal blockade against the Palestinian people be lifted immediately and that humanitarian aid be allowed in.

Brazil strongly condemned the Israeli bombardment of Gaza, as well as the firing of rockets and mortars from Gaza into Israel, and the placement of weapons in vacant schools. Israel could not neglect its responsibilities under international humanitarian law, namely to protect the Palestinian civilian population. The illegal Israeli occupation was the main cause of human rights violations in Palestine. An independent international commission of inquiry was needed.

United States was working intensively with others to ensure a return to the November 2012 ceasefire between Israel and Hamas. The United States demanded that Hamas immediately cease its rocket attacks against Israel, and supported Israel’s right to self-defense. At the same time it was concerned about the rising numbers of civilian casualties in Gaza. The United States was committed to the existence of Israel as a Jewish and a democratic State, and the creation of an independent Palestinian State.

Ireland said it was appalled by the upsurge of violence in Gaza and especially the very high and unacceptable level of civilian casualties. It was clear that neither side was paying adequate regard to the cost of their actions on innocent civilians. It commended those working to bring about a ceasefire, especially Egypt. Ireland accepted Israel’s right to defend its people but said that right did not negate the rights of others. Ireland supported the conduct of an appropriate investigation into breaches of international law.

Indonesia was distressed by the gravity of the suffering of the Palestinian people and strongly condemned Israel’s indiscriminate and disproportionate military campaign against them. Israel may have the might but that did not necessarily make them right. Ignorance and lack of accountability for violations of international law would only reinforce the culture of impunity and lead to the recurrence of violence. Indonesia was also deeply disturbed that basic necessities were very hard to obtain, if not impossible.

Russia was deeply disturbed about the worsening situation in the Gaza Strip, especially the suffering of innocent citizens, such as women and children. More than 600 Palestinians had been killed since the onset of fighting. At the same time, Russia was concerned about the shelling of Israeli civilian targets by fighters of Hamas and other groups. The existing situation was another proof of the futility of the status quo, while any solution had to be worked out together with Arab States.

Algeria strongly condemned the immoral aggression by Israel against the unarmed and besieged Palestinian people before the eyes of the entire world. The scale of the systemic destruction of infrastructure and places of worship was shocking. The latest stage of Israel’s crime was taking place in front of the entire international community – how could the massacre and murder of the innocent be justifiable in the name of self-defence? Algeria hoped that the draft resolution would be adopted by consensus.

United Arab Emirates condemned the flagrant violations of the rights of the Palestinian people by Israel, and its massacre in Gaza. It demanded that the occupying power immediately end its aggression and be held accountable for all loss of life, and that all parties support Egypt’s initiative for a ceasefire. The United Arab Emirates, in partnership with UNWRA, was providing urgent humanitarian aid to Gaza, and called on the international community to also provide support.

Argentina expressed deep concern over the deterioration of the human rights situation in the occupied Palestinian territories, which had killed hundreds of civilians including a significant number of children in what constituted a major tragedy which was moving the international community. The right to life and the right to physical integrity of people was being violated. The Council, together with the Security Council and the Secretary-General, must send a clear message that the hostilities and human rights violations must end.

Pakistan supported a just, peaceful and lasting settlement of the Palestinian issue through the creation of an independent, viable Palestinian State based on the pre-1967 borders. Israel’s brazen refusal to accept an equitable solution had been the root cause of the continuing spiral of violence and bloodshed in the region. The disproportionate collective punishment meted out to the Palestinian people amounted to genocide. Pakistan called for an immediate establishment of an independent commission of inquiry.

Austria had repeatedly condemned the indiscriminate attacks by Hamas on civilian targets in Israel, but the Israeli military operations continued to inflict an unacceptable toll on Palestinian civilians. Civilians had to be protected, while medical workers and facilities had to be spared so that they could carry on their work. A continuous influx of humanitarian supplies to Gaza had to be ensured. The parties to the conflict were called upon to abide by all norms of international human rights and humanitarian law.

Saudi Arabia said the Council was meeting as the Security Council failed to make a decision to rescue the Palestinian people in Gaza from attacks by the Israeli army. While it appreciated the courageous efforts of the High Commissioner, Israel continued to violate the human rights of the Palestinian people in actions that constituted war crimes. Saudi Arabia stood strongly with the Palestinian people and supported the Egyptian initiative to reach a ceasefire.

Maldives said the Council should have taken more timely action on this issue. The atrocities committed by Israel violated every international law, including humanitarian law. It called on Israel to start protecting human life and dignity and immediately withdraw from the Gaza Strip. Israel claimed its actions were in self-defence – what danger did the four young boys playing on the Gaza beach pose to Israel? Time and again the world had continued to fail to take action over Palestine.

Kuwait said tens of thousands of unarmed civilians had had to flee their homes and Israel’s killing machines. Israeli aggression against the Gaza Strip was disproportionate and it impacted electricity, drinking water supplies and other basic services necessary for survival. Kuwait announced urgent assistance amounting to $10 million, and called for more urgent humanitarian aid for Gaza. The Council must live up to its responsibility to protect the rights of the Palestinian people against the might of the occupying power.

Costa Rica, as an unarmed, peace-loving country, categorically condemned ongoing attacks against the civilian population, and called for dialogue and reconciliation. Costa Rica strongly called upon all parties to agree to a ceasefire. Costa Rica had condemned both Palestinian militant attacks on Israeli targets, but also the disproportionate use of military force by the Israeli forces in Gaza. Only the commitment of all parties dedicated to peace could bring about a lasting solution.

Philippines was gravely concerned that the escalation of violence, through disproportionate military operations by Israeli armed forces, as well as rockets attacks by Palestinian armed groups, constituted serious breaches of human rights norms. The Philippines called on the concerned parties to allow unfettered delivery of humanitarian assistance, especially food and medicine. The Philippines reaffirmed its support to the implementation of a two-State solution.

Morocco said that the Israeli operation had led to hundreds of deaths and significant material damage, and was strongly condemned by Morocco. The attack on Gaza was part of a series of organized attacks aimed at stopping any progress toward a just settlement of the Palestinian conflict. Israel had crossed moral red lines, as nothing could justify attacks on women and children or bombing ambulances. The Council ought to establish an independent fact-finding commission in order to ensure accountability for crimes committed.

India expressed deep concern at the steep escalation of violence in Gaza, and supported all efforts for an immediate ceasefire. It was also concerned by the violence by non-State actors in the region which were obstacles to the peace process. The solution to the Palestine issue was a sovereign, independent, viable and united State of Palestine within recognized borders side-by-side and at peace with Israel, and with East Jerusalem as its capital.

Mexico condemned the launching of rockets from Gaza to Israel and the use of violence in the Gaza Strip. Mexico was particularly concerned by reports of attacks against hospitals and civilian homes in Gaza, which were contrary to international law. Mexico said it would vote in favour of the draft resolution although it disagreed with the relevance of creating a fact-finding mission because it was unlikely to create the conditions required for the resumption of vital direct negotiations between Israel and Palestine.

Cuba said the human right to life – the most important of human rights – was once again blatantly being violated in the occupied Palestinian territories by the military forces of Israel. The new practice of warning inhabitants to leave their homes before a bomb destroyed them was a farce and a blatant violation of international humanitarian law. The genocide against the Palestinian people must end and those responsible must be made to answer for their crimes.

China viewed with deep pain and concern the ongoing Israeli attacks against Palestinian civilians, which had caused a huge civilian death toll. China called upon all parties to respect human rights and international humanitarian law. It was most important to have a ceasefire at this moment, and halt the ground offensive and the launch of rockets. China urged all parties concerned to return to the negotiating table; a special envoy from China was in the region at the moment, engaged in intensive shuttle diplomacy.

United Kingdom condemned the appalling attacks being carried out by Hamas and other militant attacks, and supported Israel’s right to take action to defend itself, but its use of force had to be proportionate. Both sides had to do their utmost to de-escalate the situation and alleviate the suffering. The British Government had increased its funding as the humanitarian situation worsened. The urgent priority was to bring the violence to an end, and in that regard the new Foreign Secretary was currently in the region.

Peru had expressed on several opportunities its deep concern over the situation in the Middle East, especially over the indiscriminate use of force by Israel against Gaza. Any act, practice or method of terrorism had to be condemned at the same time. The civilian population had to be ensured medical attention, and humanitarian corridors ought to be secured. The civilian population was gravely suffering and did not have access to essential services, and it was high time for the international community to act now.

South Africa said the Special Session was taking place at a critical juncture as the world witnessed the siege of the Gaza Strip and the disproportionate use of force by the Israeli Defence Forces, which must immediately cease the collective punishment of the Palestinians. South Africa equally condemned the firing of rockets by Hamas into Israel which put the lives of innocent civilians at risk.

Germany strongly condemned the continued firing of rockets from Gaza into Israel by Hamas and was appalled by attempts by Hamas and other militants to use civilians of Gaza as human shields. Israel had the right to defend its population against those criminal and unjustifiable attacks, but in doing so it must act proportionately and ensure the protection of civilians at all times.

Japan said despite efforts by the international community for a ceasefire it regretted that Palestinian militants did not accept the proposals, and urged all parties to refrain from excessive use of force to prevent civilian casualties. Following a humanitarian pause achieved through the mediation efforts of the United Nations on 17 July, it was essential that all parties continued cooperating with each other to realize unfettered humanitarian access in the affected area.

Chile expressed its dismay at the use of force by Israel against densely populated areas in Gaza, as well as the launch of rockets by Hamas against Israeli civilian targets. Free access for humanitarian aid had to be secured to the suffering population. The blockade of Gaza had already resulted in adverse effects on the population for years. Chile welcomed the good offices of the Secretary-General and Egypt in trying to end the crisis.

Republic of Korea was gravely concerned about the heavy casualties of innocent civilians of Palestine, who were forced to endure such unbearable suffering. The situation in the Gaza Strip had already been dire even before the onslaught of the current fighting. The Republic of Korea was also deeply concerned that various international efforts for a ceasefire had yet to produce an outcome. All parties were asked to exercise maximum restraint.

France stated that the current balance was appalling, with more than 630 dead and more than 100,000 displaced Palestinians. It was not acceptable that a country be threatened by a rocket barrage, nor for a civilian population to be exposed to the harsh military response leading to numerous casualties. While Israel’s security had to be completely guaranteed, it was important for the Palestinian Authority to re-establish its control over the Gaza Strip, with the view of reunifying the Palestinian Territories.

Viet Nam said the deaths of innocent civilians, especially women and children, in the occupied Palestinian territories was unacceptable. Viet Nam shared the international community’s deep concern, as expressed in the statement of the United Nations Secretary-General on 20 July. A ceasefire, not the continuation of violence, would help re-open peace talks and promote a safe and secure environment for the enjoyment of human rights by the peoples in the region.

Qatar condemned in the strongest terms the killing of unarmed civilians by the occupying power Israel and the collective punishment of the Palestinians, which were crimes of war and crimes against humanity. Gaza was an open-air prison and the civilians had nowhere to flee. Qatar especially referred to the terrible massacre of the Shejaiya neighbourhood. It called for the blockade on Gaza to be lifted.

Turkey said the Council should have reacted to the crisis much earlier. By continuing its massacres and other inhumane acts of collective punishment, Israel was only planting seeds of hatred in the region. Israel’s unacceptable attacks, with the tacit approval of the self-imposed human rights champions, had had devastating consequences not only for the innocent Palestinian civilians but also for human rights and humanitarian law developed over the last 150 years.

Egypt condemned the recent Israeli attacks killing hundreds of Palestinians and injuring thousands. Israel, as the occupying power, should ensure that no excessive force was used and that the well-being of the Palestinians was guaranteed. The Egyptian initiative should be supported as a way of ending the suffering of the Palestinian people. Egypt had opened the Rafah border crossing from the early days of the Israeli intervention.

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For use of the information media; not an official record

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