Statement by the Women’s Centre for Legal Aid and Counselling (WCLAC), and the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF)
Twenty-eighth Special Session of the UN Human Rights Council
Geneva, 18 May 2018
We deeply regret the continuing failure of diplomatic efforts to condemn Israel’s entrenched and expanding military occupation of Palestine.
We deplore the mass killings and excessive and disproportionate use of force by the Israeli occupation forces against peaceful Palestinian demonstrators in Gaza on 14th May 2018, and over the previous six week period since the commencement of the Great March of Return.
Demonstrators were not only calling for the right of return, but also for an end to the crippling, eleven-year blockade under appalling conditions imposed by Israel. The unilateral recognition by the USA of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and the subsequent moving of its embassy in clear violation of international law has only fueled tensions and triggered legitimate protests from Palestinians.
The active participation of women in the peaceful protests and the grave number of women that have been injured and disproportionately impacted by the violence must be highlighted.
We call on Member States of the Council to:
● address the ongoing impunity of Israel by urgently establishing an independent International Commission of Inquiry to investigate all violations of IHL and international human rights law linked to the killing of, and violence against, Palestinian civilians in the context of the peaceful protests;
● demand that Israel facilitate the immediate provision of humanitarian assistance to the Gaza Strip, end its crippling blockade on the Gaza Strip, and respect the human rights of Palestinians.
Finally, we urge all States to seek criminal accountability for Israel’s violations of IHL, including by requesting the ICC to open an investigation.
I thank you.