Turning a blind eye to Palestinians' suffering is disgraceful: Egypt FM Shoukry in Geneva

Ahram Online , Tuesday 27 Feb 2024

Minister of Foreign Affairs Sameh Shoukry condemned the disregard shown by some parties on Monday in their statements before the UN Human Rights Council in Genevan concerning the humanitarian suffering of Palestinians, describing it as "disgraceful."

Sameh Shoukry
Egypt s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry speaks during one a meeting on the sidelines of the Human Rights Council and the Disarmament Conference held in Geneva on Monday 26 February, 2024. Photo courtesy of ministry of Foreign affairs.


Shoukry addressed the escalating humanitarian crisis in Gaza in his speech at the high-level side event organized by Palestine on the human rights situation in the occupied Palestinian territories, according to the Egyptian foreign ministry.

This came during his participation in the meetings of the UN Human Rights Council and the Conference on Disarmament held in Geneva.

He highlighted the daily violations of the Palestinians' human rights for nearly five consecutive months.

Shoukry also addressed the practices that violate all provisions of international human rights law and international humanitarian law, the matter which exacerbated the crisis among Gaza’s population.

He emphasized that the current situation in all occupied Palestinian territories, including Gaza, the West Bank, and East Jerusalem, is a result of Israeli occupation policies and practices that have lasted for nearly 70 years, as well as the blockade imposed on Gaza for about 16 years.

He denounced Israel's continued denial of the basic rights of the Palestinian people.

Foremost among these are the rights to self-determination and return to Palestinian lands, he noted.

Shoukry condemned Israeli policies of collective punishment against the Palestinians in Gaza, including indiscriminate targeting, blockade, destruction of infrastructure, forced displacement, obstruction of aid access, and using starvation as a tool in its war against Gaza.

These actions have raised the risk of famine, malnutrition, and the spread of diseases among Gazans, he added.

In a related context, Minister Shoukry stated that the humanitarian crisis in Gaza has highlighted the shortcomings of the international system in alleviating the suffering of the Palestinians, stressing the need to pressure Israel to comply with international human rights law and international humanitarian law.

He expressed deep regret for the selective approach and double standards concerning reaching a final solution to this crisis and the Security Council’s repeated failure to adopt a ceasefire resolution due to the American veto last week.

Moreover, Shoukry pointed out the constraints imposed on the role of United Nations bodies in addressing the human rights situation in Gaza, adding that the Human Rights Council’s mechanisms dealing with conditions in the occupied Palestinian territories face significant difficulties in implementing their mandate due to the lack of support or necessary resources compared to other mechanisms.

Shoukry also warned of the consequences of any ground military operation in Rafah, the last haven for about 1.4 million displaced Palestinians, explaining the catastrophic humanitarian repercussions that will befall Palestinian civilians in Gaza as a result.

He clarified the security implications that threaten to expand the circle of violence in the region, posing a direct threat to international peace and security.

The minister concluded his speech by affirming Egypt's steadfast commitment to continue efforts to achieve a ceasefire in Gaza and to sufficiently implement humanitarian aid for the needs of Palestinians there.

He emphasized the necessity of resolving the crisis from its roots and supporting the legitimate and non-negotiable rights of the Palestinian people.

This can be achieved by establishing a just peace based on a two-state solution, which leads to establishing an independent Palestinian state with contiguous and viable territories along the pre-1967 lines, with East Jerusalem as its capital, he stressed.

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