Press Release

Shock at impact on civilians of Israeli raid in Gaza to free hostages

11 June 2024

Spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Jeremy Laurence

We are profoundly shocked at the impact on civilians of the Israeli forces’ operation in An Nuseirat at the weekend to secure the release of four hostages. Hundreds of Palestinians, many of them civilians, were reportedly killed and injured. The manner in which the raid was conducted in such a densely populated area seriously calls into question whether the principles of distinction, proportionality and precaution - as set out under the laws of war - were respected by the Israeli forces.

Our Office is also deeply distressed that Palestinian armed groups continue to hold many hostages, most of them civilians, which is prohibited by international humanitarian law. Furthermore, by holding hostages in such densely populated areas, the armed groups doing so are putting the lives of Palestinian civilians, as well as the hostages themselves, at added risk from the hostilities.

All these actions, by both parties, may amount to war crimes.

The High Commissioner for Human Rights, Volker Türk, welcomes Security Council Resolution 2735 calling for a "full and complete ceasefire", the release of hostages held by Palestinian armed groups, the return of the remains of dead hostages, and the exchange of Palestinian prisoners. An immediate priority must be to ensure the full and unfettered flow of humanitarian aid to the desperate population of Gaza.

The High Commissioner calls on all parties as well as third States, in particular those with influence over the parties to the conflict, to also maximise efforts to work towards the goal whereby Israelis and Palestinians can fully enjoy all human rights and live side by side, in peace.

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