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Palestine: HR experts ask Israel to end use of excessive force
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Palestine: HR experts ask Israel to end use of excessive force

Geneva, 14 May (Chakravarthi Raghavan) – The UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) has asked Israel to put an immediate end to the disproportionate use of force against Palestinian demonstrators in the Gaza strip and refrain from any act that could lead to further casualties and ensure prompt and unimpeded access to medical treatment to injured Palestinians.The CERD, whose members are independent human rights experts from around the world, serving in their personal capacity and not as representatives of States parties, issued this call on Israel at the conclusion of its 95th session.
The CERD statement comes even as Palestine officials reported Monday evening that at least 52 persons had been killed when Israeli troops opened fire against demonstrators along the border fence with Gaza, making it the bloodiest day of demonstrations in the past six weeks of protests. The Health Ministry in Gaza said another 1700 people were injured.
Acting under its Early Warning and Urgent Action Procedures, the CERD statement in preambular paragraphs expressed its grave concern that many of the persons who died or were injured were reportedly posing no imminent threat at the time they were shot, as also the CERD’s alarm at the many reports according to which Israeli authorities have denied and continue to deny access to urgent medical treatment to injured Palestinians.
The CERD said it is also highly concerned that these incidents are taking place in a context marked by the 50-year occupation of the Palestinian territory, the blockade imposed since 2007 on the Gaza strip and a rise of racist hate speech and incitement to racist violence against Palestinians by Israeli governmental officials and members of the ISF.
In its operative paras, the CERD asked Israel: to initiate an impartial and independent investigation into the use of force against Palestinian demonstrators in compliance with international standards and hold those responsible accountable; to ensure that all Palestinians under its effective control enjoy full rights under the Convention without discrimination especially, their right to life and security of person, freedom of opinion and expression, as well as their right to medical care; to take all the necessary measures to fully implement the recommendations made by the Committee in 2012 and in particular: to fully respect the norms of humanitarian law in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and to lift the blockade of the Gaza strip; counter the tide of racism and xenophobia in public discourse, in particular by strongly condemning all racist and xenophobic statements by public officials and political and religious leaders, and by implementing appropriate measures to combat the proliferation of racist acts and manifestations of racist hate speech that particularly target Palestinians in the territories under Israel’s effective control.
(Published in SUNS #8680 dated 15 May 2018. Chakravarthi Raghavan is the Editor Emeritus of the SUNS)