UN rights expert calls for Israel arms embargo

A United Nations Special Rapporteur called on all countries to slap an arms embargo on Israel due to its brutal war on Gaza since October, Reuters reported.

As well as calling for a cease in arms sales to the country, Francesca Albanese presented findings to the UN’s Human Rights Council on March 26 which noted that Israel’s actions over recent months met the definition of genocide. 

Albanese said “It is my solemn duty to report on the worst of what humanity is capable of and to present my findings,” whilst presenting her report in Geneva titled, “The Anatomy of a Genocide”. 

The Italian added,”I find that there are reasonable grounds to believe that the threshold indicating the commission of the crime of genocide against Palestinians as a group in Gaza has been met. 

“I implore member states to abide by their obligations, which start with imposing an arms embargo and sanctions on Israel and so ensure that the future does not continue to repeat itself.” 

Notably, Israel were not in attendance at the Human Rights Council session in southwest Switzerland and castigated the UN official. 

The country’s diplomatic mission in Geneva did not debunk her statements although they said, “Instead of seeking the truth, this Special Rapporteur tries to fit weak arguments to her distorted and obscene inversion of reality,”

READ: UN accuses Israel of “starvation campaign” in Gaza

In January, the International Court of Justice (ICJ), the world body’s top court, found that it was plausible that Israel was committing genocide and called on the state to limit civilian casualties as well as allowing aid to enter the war-torn Gaza Strip during the verdict of the case against the country, brought by South Africa. 

As the UN Special Rapporteur on the Occupied Palestinian Territories made the case for an arms embargo, 135 British MPs and members of the House of Lords from all political parties signed a letter to the Foreign Secretary David Cameron and Business Secretary Kemi Badenoch on March 27, calling for the United Kingdom to fully stop arming Israel. 

The letter – written by Labour MP Zarah Sultana – read, “ The case for this (an arms embargo) is overwhelming. More than 32,000 Palestinians have been killed in Israel’s assault, 70% women and children. Israeli bombing has destroyed or severely damaged up to 80% of civilian infrastructure, including homes, hospitals, schools and sanitation facilities. Famine is now imminent in northern Gaza, with children already dying of hunger. 

The United Nations Secretary-General, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and others have said that Israel has committed grave violations of international law in this assault. The International Court of Justice has said that Israel’s assault is ‘plausibly’ in breach of the Genocide Convention.” 

The UK government said last month that since 2008, the country has licensed arms worth over £574 million to Israel. 

Article II of the UN Genocide Convention describes the term as follows:  

  • Killing members of the group. 
  • Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group. 
  • Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part. 
  • Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group. 
  • Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group. 

Reuters/ The Guardian

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