Urgent question on the UNHRC inquiry into deaths in Gaza

22 March 2019

Shadow Foreign Secretary, Emily Thornberry, asked an urgent question in the House of Commons on the United Nations Human Rights Council inquiry into deaths in Gaza.

Last month, the United Nations Human Rights Council published an inquiry into whether Israel had breached human rights law in how it dealt with protests in Gaza.

Santiago Canton of Argentina, the Chair of the United Nations Independent Commission of Inquiry, stated that the inquiry had found:

"reasonable grounds to believe that during the Great March of Return, Israeli soldiers committed violations of international human rights and humanitarian law. Some of those violations may constitute war crimes or crimes against humanity, and must be immediately investigated by Israel.”

Alistair Burt MP, Minister of State for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, responded on behalf of the Government:

"We've been clear that the UK fully supports the need for an independent and transparent investigation into last year's events in Gaza […] We've repeatedly made clear to Israel our longstanding concerns about the manner in which the Israel Defence Forces police non-violent protests and the border areas including the use of live ammunition."

Emily Thornberry pressed the Government further, stating

"[The UNHRC's report] provides clear and compelling evidence that live ammunition was used in a way that cannot be explained and cannot be justified [...] The Government has abstained on a resolution endorsing that report, in effect, telling the Israeli authorities: 'We refuse to find fault with your actions'."

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