The Independent Commission for Human Rights (ICHR) commends the clear position adopted by the United Nations Human Rights Council strongly condemning the Israeli offensive on the Gaza Strip as well as its decision to dispatch a fact-finding mission to investigate human rights violations committed in the territory.
On 12 January 2009, the UN Human Rights Council adopted a resolution in which it strongly condemned the ongoing Israeli military operation in the occupied Gaza Strip, which has resulted in a large number of civilian deaths and injuries. The resolution also called for urgent action to end grave violations of human rights in the Gaza Strip. After two days of deliberations, the resolution was endorsed. Mrs. Navi Pillay, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, emphasised that Israeli officials responsible for attacks on civilians and humanitarian relief officers should be prosecuted on charges of war crimes.
The resolution, which received the support of 33 member States including Russia and China, calls for dispatching an international fact-finding mission to investigate the Israeli infringements on human rights and international humanitarian law. In the resolution, the Council also requests that the Secretary General of United Nations, Ban Ki-moon, investigates the latest targeting of UNRWA facilities in Gaza, especially schools, which have resulted in the killing of dozens of Palestinian civilians, including women and children.
The UN Human Rights Council is an inter-governmental body within the UN system made up of 47 States. It is responsible for strengthening the promotion and protection of human rights around the globe. Employing several mechanisms, the UN Human Rights Council ensures States‘ commitment to respect human rights. As a specialised body, the Council dispatches fact-finding missions to investigate human rights violations.
ICHR therefore calls on the United Nations to implement the aforesaid resolution and send a commission of human rights experts through the Rafah Crossing to investigate the grave violations perpetrated by the Israeli occupying forces against the civilian population in the Gaza Strip.