This is the News in Brief from the United Nations.
Gaza probe finds ‘reasonable grounds’ Israeli forces committed international human rights violations
An independent UN report into the 2018 protests along Gaza’s border fence involving Israeli security forces, which resulted in the deaths of more than 180 Palestinians, concluded on Thursday that there are “reasonable grounds” to believe Israel violated international humanitarian law.
According to the UN Commission of Inquiry, there was “no justification” for Israeli forces to use live rounds.
Its findings indicate that Israeli Security Forces injured 6,106 Palestinians with live ammunition while another 3,098 Palestinians were injured by bullet fragmentation, rubber-coated metal bullets or tear gas.
The report also found that four Israeli soldiers were injured at the demonstrations, noting that one was killed on a protest day “but outside the protest sites”.
Safe return of Syrians ‘completely illusory’
Despite a general winding-down of hostilities in Syria, the UN Commission of Inquiry reported on Thursday that civilians were still subjected to lawlessness and sweeping rights violations.
In a 20-page report released on Thursday, the Commission highlighted how on-going hostilities and abuses are undermining the safe return of millions of refugees and internally displaced persons.
Commissioner Karen AbuZayd spelled out that “on-going violations by all sides” and infrastructure damage, together with a lack of services and documentation, made conditions for a “safe and sustainable return completely illusory”.
The Commission emphasized that plans to return the displaced both within and outside of Syria must be made in accordance with “a rights-based approach”.
‘Backlash against human rights’ today
Across the globe, women, girls and gender non-conforming people who are standing up for human rights have increasingly been facing repression and violence, according to UN human rights expert Michel Forst.
In the current political climate, “there is a backlash against human rights”, he said on Thursday, presenting his annual report to the Human Rights Council in Geneva.
“Women who defend and promote rights are often the first to come under attack,” he stated, citing sexual violence, public shaming, honour attacks and publishing personal details online.
All these abuses were being “used to silence women human rights defenders”, he said.
Moreover, he said an increasing number of States have been curtailing the rights to freedom of opinion, expression, association and peaceful assembly.
Liz Scaffidi, UN News.