PRC Calls on UN Special Adviser on Genocide to Speak Out on Israel’s War on Gaza

PRC Calls on UN Special Adviser on Genocide to Speak Out on Israel’s War on Gaza

Over 28,000 people have been killed in Israel's bombing campaign in Gaza. [GETTY]

16 February 2024

The Palestinian Return Centre joins a large coalition of Palestinian human rights organisations who have written to the UN Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide, Alice Wairimu Nderitu, to highlight her failure to warn of an impending genocide in Gaza. It is a dereliction of duty under the mandate of the UN Special Adviser on Genocide to take such an approach which does not go far enough in condemning Israeli mass killings of civilians and the ethnic cleansing of the population from the north to the south of the Gaza, as well as their imminent and potential expulsion to Egypt.

Nderitu has failed to do the minimum within her UN mandate to warn the international community of the risk of genocide against Palestinians in Gaza. The general silence since October 7 and the absence of diplomatic measures on third states to uphold their legal obligations to intervene is a great cause of concern, given the importance of the UN Special Adviser on Genocide.

Palestinian human rights organisations had condemned the statement issued on 15 October 2023, writing that ‘Failing to contextualise seventy-five years of oppression and domination by the State of Israel over the Palestinian people as a whole, the statement exclusively placed the onus of condemnation on Palestinian armed groups.’[1]

In response, on 9 February 2024 Nderitu released another statement, which only ‘notes’ the provisional measures of the International Court of Justice’s case brought forward by South Africa. Alarmingly, her statement solely calls for ‘the protection of civilians and civilian infrastructures in accordance with international law.’[2] This is extremely reductive and does not warn of the ongoing genocidal violence, which has killed approximately 30,000 Palestinians and makes no mention of the forced displacement which is taking place on a massive scale. Her statement, like the previous one, is more vocal about the actions of Palestinian armed groups. This approach is not impartial and balanced but shows a hierarchy in which Israeli civilians are prioritised over Palestinians.

It is of extreme urgency for the UN Special Adviser on Genocide to speak out on the ongoing mass killings and ethnic cleansing taking place, as is required and within the scope of her mandate. At this time, this is appropriate especially since on February 13 South Africa has made an urgent request to the International Court of Justice to consider whether Israel’s decision to extend its military operations in Rafah requires that the court use its power to prevent further breach of the rights of Palestinians in Gaza.[3]

The PRC is gravely concerned that the unprecedented military offensive against Rafah will likely result in further large scale killing, harm and destruction. Thus, it calls of the UN Special Adviser to respect her mandate and increase the pressure on the Israeli government, by releasing further statements on genocidal nature of the attacks, as well as use all diplomatic measures with the international community so to prevent further killings and displacement.





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