UN Human Rights Chief Calls for Investigation into War Crimes in Israel-Hamas Conflict

The conflict between Israel and Hamas escalated following an attack by Hamas gunmen on Israel on October 7, during which 1,200 people were killed and 253 hostages were captured

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Volker Turk, the United Nations human rights chief, delivered a stark message on Thursday, asserting that war crimes had been committed by all parties involved in the conflict between Israel and Hamas. Speaking at the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva, Turk urged for thorough investigations into these violations of international human rights and humanitarian laws, emphasizing the urgent need for accountability.

“Clear violations of international human rights and humanitarian laws, including war crimes and possibly other crimes under international law, have been committed by all parties,” Turk stated unequivocally during his address. He emphasized the critical importance of pursuing peace, conducting comprehensive investigations, and holding those responsible for atrocities accountable for their actions.

The conflict between Israel and Hamas escalated following an attack by Hamas gunmen on Israel on October 7, during which 1,200 people were killed and 253 hostages were captured, according to Israeli reports. In response, Israel launched an offensive in Hamas-run Gaza, purportedly aimed at rescuing the remaining hostages and eliminating Hamas presence. However, health authorities in Gaza reported that more than 30,000 people have been confirmed killed during the offensive.

Presenting a report on the human rights situation in Gaza and the Israeli-occupied West Bank, Turk highlighted numerous incidents recorded by his office that may constitute war crimes by Israeli forces. He also raised concerns about indications of indiscriminate or disproportionate targeting by Israeli forces, which would violate international law.

The call for accountability and justice resonates deeply amid the ongoing conflict, underscoring the imperative of upholding human rights principles and ensuring that perpetrators of violence are held accountable for their actions. As the international community grapples with the complexities of the Israel-Hamas conflict, Turk’s appeal serves as a reminder of the urgent need for a comprehensive and impartial investigation to address violations and pave the way for lasting peace and stability in the region.

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