UN rights council to consider call for Israel arms embargo

AFP , Wednesday 3 Apr 2024

The UN Human Rights Council will consider a draft resolution on Friday calling for an arms embargo on Israel, citing the "plausible risk of genocide in Gaza".

A Palestinian child salvages a torn kite from the rubble of a destroyed apartment in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on April 2024, following overnight Israeli bombardment of the area. AFP


If the draft resolution is adopted, it would mark the first time that the United Nations' top rights body has taken a position on the war raging in Gaza.

The text condemns "the use of explosive weapons with wide-area effects by Israel" in populated areas of the Gaza Strip and demands that Israel "uphold its legal responsibility to prevent genocide".

The text was brought forward by Pakistan on behalf of 55 of the 56 UN member states in the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) -- the exception being Albania.

The draft resolution is also co-sponsored by Bolivia, Cuba and the Palestinian mission in Geneva.

Friday marks the last day of the current council session.

The eight-page draft demands that Israel end its occupation of Palestinian territory and immediately lifts its "illegal blockade" on the Gaza Strip and all other forms of "collective punishment".

It calls upon countries to stop the sale or transfer of arms, munitions and other military equipment to Israel, citing "a plausible risk of genocide in Gaza".

The draft "condemns the use of explosive weapons with wide area effects by Israel in populated areas in Gaza" and voices grave concern at the effects of explosive weapons on hospitals, schools, water, electricity and shelter in Gaza.

It also "condemns the use of starvation of civilians as a method of warfare".

The draft resolution also calls for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza and "condemns Israeli actions that may amount to ethnic cleansing", urging all states to prevent the forcible transfer of Palestinians within the Gaza Strip.

There are 47 countries serving on the Human Rights Council -- among them 18 states which brought forward the draft resolution.

Twenty-four votes are needed for an outright majority, but resolutions can pass with fewer votes due to abstentions.

The bloodiest-ever Israeli war on Gaza has killed at least 32,916 people, mostly women and children.

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