Euro-Med Monitor calls for UN presence at Gaza protests

Geneva An international human rights group has called on the United Nations to send a mission to monitor the Great March of Return protests along the eastern border of Gaza and to document the Israeli practices against the unarmed Palestinian protesters.

According to a statement late on Saturday, the Geneva-based Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor sent an urgent letter to UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights to Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and of Association Clement Nyaletsossi Voule. The letter called for sending a UN mission to monitor the protests along the Gaza eastern border and to document the Israeli practices against protesters taking part in what Palestinians call the “Great March of Return”.

Following calls by local groups for peaceful protests demanding the right of return for Palestine refugees, thousands of Palestinian civilians from across Gaza Strip started since March 30 to gather in mass peaceful rallies near Gaza’s eastern border fence. In response, the Israeli army used lethal force against the unarmed protesters.

During the period from 30 March to 20 April, Israeli snipers killed 39 protesters and injured 5,000 others, including journalists. These protesters did not pose any threat to the lives of the Israeli soldiers, the statement said.

It pointed out that these protests are a result of Israel’s 12-year-long blockade on Gaza’s two million Palestinians. This blockade has left a devastating impact on every aspect of Gazans’ daily life, depriving them of several basic human rights, such as, inter alia, the right to healthcare and education as well as freedom of movement.

Also in the statement, the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor said the use of excessive force against protesters may constitute a crime under the Rome Statute. It called for an end to the Gaza besiege, describing it as a form of collective punishment of Palestinian citizens, which constitutes a grave violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention.

Source: International Islamic News Agency