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Ending armed conflicts is greatest protection for civilians: Chinese envoy

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Ending armed conflicts is greatest protection for civilians: Chinese envoy

2024-05-22 13:56 Last Updated At:20:27

A Chinese U.N. envoy said on Tuesday that putting an end to armed conflicts is the greatest protection for civilians, as countless lives are suffering from the ongoing Israeli attacks in the Gaza Strip.

Fu Cong, China's permanent representative to U.N., made the statement at a Security Council open debate on the protection of civilians in armed conflicts.

"Saving lives is a noble goal in armed conflicts, but we must recognize that as long as the conflict continues, civilian lives are always at risk," he said.

Noting that the primary responsibility of the Security Council is to maintain international peace and security, and that the Gaza conflict, which has lasted more than seven months, has caused unprecedented civilian casualties and a humanitarian disaster, the Chinese envoy said that priority must be given to facilitating an immediate and comprehensive ceasefire in Gaza, urging Israel to immediately stop its collective punishment of the Palestinian people and to stop advancing its military attacks on the southern Gaza city of Rafah neighboring Egypt.

He stressed that the international humanitarian law is a bottom line that must be observed by all, adding that humanitarian assistance must not be politicized and basic goods such as food and medicine must not be weaponized.

"The Security Council should continue to uphold the authority of the international humanitarian law and ensure its universal and consistent application. Double standards or selective application of the humanitarian law are unacceptable and are tantamount to condoning more violations," Fu said.

The Chinese envoy said that strengthening the governance capacity of the countries involved in the conflict is a fundamental solution. When dealing with conflicts, the international community should take systematic measures to support the countries involved in the conflict to effectively enhance their national defense, public security and anti-terrorism capabilities. Meanwhile, efforts should be made to help the countries involved to accelerate development and gradually address the deep-seated causes of conflicts.

He said that China is willing to continue to work with the rest of the international community to make unremitting efforts to eliminate the scourge of war and ensure the happiness and tranquility of the people as soon as possible.

Ending armed conflicts is greatest protection for civilians: Chinese envoy

Ending armed conflicts is greatest protection for civilians: Chinese envoy

Ending armed conflicts is greatest protection for civilians: Chinese envoy

Ending armed conflicts is greatest protection for civilians: Chinese envoy

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Israeli army may have repeatedly violated laws of war in Gaza: UN report

2024-06-20 02:18 Last Updated At:06:17

The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) may have repeatedly violated fundamental principles of the laws of war in a series of prohibited indiscriminate attacks on Gaza, according to a report issued by the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Office on Wednesday.

Released during the 56th session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, the report details six notable attacks targeting Gaza's residential buildings, a school, refugee camps, and a market between Oct 9 and Dec 2, 2023, which involved the suspected use of GBU-31, GBU-32 and GBU-39 bombs.

"The report details six emblematic attacks involving the suspected use of GBU-31s, or 2,000-pound bombs, GBU-32 1,000-pound bombs, and GBU-39, 250-pound bombs from the 9th of October to the 2nd of December 2023 on residential buildings, a school, refugee camps, and a market," said Jeremy Laurence, the spokesperson for the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), at a press briefing in Geneva.

GBU-31, 32 and 39 bombs are mostly used to penetrate through several floors of concrete and can completely collapse tall structures. Given how densely populated the areas targeted were, the use of an explosive weapon with such wide area effects is highly likely to amount to a prohibited indiscriminate attack, the report finds.

The OHCHR has reported that at least 218 deaths have been confirmed as a direct consequence of the six attacks. However, it cautioned that the actual death toll is likely to be significantly higher.

"The report concludes that these Israeli strikes indicate that the IDF may have repeatedly violated fundamental principles of the laws of war. In this connection, it notes that unlawful targeting when committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack against a civilian population, in line with a State or organizational policy, may also implicate the commission of crimes against humanity," said Laurence.

The report also says that such unlawful targeting may also implicate the commission of crimes against humanity.

"Israel's choices of methods and means of conducting hostilities in Gaza since the 7th of October, including through the extensive use of explosive weapons with wide area effects in densely populated areas, have failed to ensure that they effectively distinguish between civilians and fighters," said Laurence.

"It became very clear to us that the nature of weapons that were used, especially on a wide area, that have a wide area effect, is extremely dangerous in the context of Gaza, and we have been saying this, in several reports and statements, that Gaza is a very densely populated area. And in these six incidents, we had sufficient information to demonstrate, the civilian casualties, both in terms of the deaths as well as injuries, and where we felt that the principles of international humanitarian law, particularly precaution, distinction, proportionality, were not necessarily followed," said Ajith Sunghay, an official with the OHCHR in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.

Although the report primarily focuses on Israel, it also highlights that Palestinian armed groups have continued to fire rockets indiscriminately towards Israel, inconsistent with their obligations under international humanitarian law.

Israeli army may have repeatedly violated laws of war in Gaza: UN report

Israeli army may have repeatedly violated laws of war in Gaza: UN report

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