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Source: United Nations News Service (See also > DPI)
Department of Public Information (DPI)
6 December 2002

Middle East: UN's top human rights official urges probe into pattern of serious incidents

6 December Following the killing in Gaza today of ten Palestinians, including two United Nations relief workers, the top UN human rights official called for an Israeli probe into the recent pattern of serious incidents in the Middle East.

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Sergio Vieira de Mello, was "deeply disturbed" to learn of the deaths during this morning's attack by the Israeli Defence Force (IDF) on the Bureij refugee camp, according to a statement he released in Geneva.

"The current level of violence that causes civilian losses, including of children and elders, is profoundly disquieting," Mr. Vieira de Mello said, noting that the instability makes the provision of humanitarian assistance "extremely difficult."

The High Commissioner recalled that in recent days, the IDF has demolished a UN World Food Programme (WFP) warehouse and killed British aid worker Iain Hook, and voiced "extreme" concern for the safety and wellbeing of all civilians, including UN personnel, living and working in the occupied Palestinian territories.

Mr. Vieira de Mello repeated his call to the Israeli authorities to refrain from the indiscriminate use of force in civilian areas. "The principle of proportionality must always be applied and all necessary measures taken to avoid loss of life or injury to civilians," he said, calling on the Israeli authorities conduct "a full and transparent investigation into this pattern of serious incidents, mindful of human rights and humanitarian law."

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