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ICHR urgent appeal to the international community on the situation in Gaza

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The Palestine Independent Commission for Human Rights (ICHR) has issued an urgent appeal to the international community.

The Palestine Independent Commission for Human Rights (ICHR) has issued an urgent appeal to the international community regarding the deteriorating situation in the Gaza Strip.

In a statement, the ICHR called for the international community to "stand before their legal and moral obligations and provide protection for Palestinian civilians in the occupied Palestinian territory".

The ICHR also appealed to the international community and United Nations organisations specifically, to take all measures to halt forced displacement carried out against residents of the Gaza Strip.

At least 220 people, including 63 children, have reportedly been killed in Gaza since Israel began its aerial bombardment on 10 May.

The ICHR expressed its concern over the deliberate targeting and destruction of civilian and public facilities, as well as the deteriorating humanitarian conditions, already precarious due to the impact of COVID-19 and strict blockades preventing the entry of food, medical supplies and fuel into Gaza.

The Commission warned that any further escalation of violence and expansion of military operations in Gaza would result in additional civilian casualties, especially among women and children.

Further, in a special report into media freedom in the Gaza Strip, the ICHR has documented numerous human rights violations against journalists and press institutions.

In the period between 11 – 15 May, the ICHR documented attacks against eight journalists (mostly physical injuries with rocket shrapnel) the destruction of 26 press institutions, and the bombing of a number of homes inhabited by journalists. The full list of human rights violations for this period can be viewed here.

The ICHR has called for parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 – which establishes protections for civilians, journalists, and media organisations during armed conflict and military occupation – to take action to prevent such violations.

The Commission has also called for international pressure to establish accountability for any violations of international humanitarian law.

Date: 20 May 2021