The United Nations Human Rights Council announced today the appointment of the last of three members of its probe to investigate purported violations of international humanitarian and human rights laws in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and particularly in the Gaza Strip since the conflict began on 13 June.
In a statement released today, the Council’s President, Ambassador Baudelaire Ndong Ella (Gabon), announced that Mary McGowan Davis (United States) will join William Schabas (Canada) and Doudou Diène (Senegal) whose appointments were announced on 11 August. The previously appointed Amal Alamuddin (United Kingdom) was unable to serve due to prior commitments.
Ms. Davis is from the United States and has served as a Justice for the State of New York and as a federal prosecutor during the course of a 24-year career. She also has extensive experience in the fields of international human rights law and has served as Chair on a UN Committee tasked with following up on the findings of the Gaza conflict that occurred between December 2008 and January 2009.
The Independent International Commission of Inquiry – launched by the Human Rights Council on 23 July – is charged with investigating human rights violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, in particular the occupied Gaza Strip. It plans to investigate all violations of human rights and humanitarian law since the current military operations began in mid-June.
As it stands now, the cumulative death toll among Palestinians stands at 2,076. Some 1,454 – 70 per cent – are believed to be civilians, including 491 children and 253 women, according to the UN Office of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). Out of the 2,076 killed, 253 are believed to be militants, and the status of a further 369 killed Palestinians is still to be determined.
Meanwhile, UNRWA said today that its schools along with Government-run schools are not ready for the new school year in Gaza, which was set to begin yesterday. More than 200 schools which were affected by shelling need to be repaired, including 22 which have been completely destroyed. In the meantime, UNRWA said its TV station will run education programs at emergency shelters and will expand psychosocial work with humanitarian organizations.