Press briefing notes on Yemen, Central African Republic
and Escalating tensions in East Jerusalem and West Bank
Spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights: Rupert Colville
Date: 29 September 2015
(3) Escalating tensions in East Jerusalem and West Bank
We are concerned about clashes and escalating tensions in East Jerusalem and in the West Bank, due to a wave of protests against access restrictions imposed by the Israeli authorities on Palestinian worshippers wishing to enter the Al Aqsa Compound.
We note with concern allegations that Israeli security forces may, in some cases, have used excessive force against Palestinian protesters in East Jerusalem in recent days. We also call for restraint following the authorisation granted by Israeli authorities on Sunday on the use of live fire in life-threatening situations in East Jerusalem. Any lethal use of force could exacerbate the cycle of violence and further inflame an already tense situation. We urge the Israeli authorities to ensure that security forces only employ force as a last resort and in full accordance with the standards laid out under international law for maintaining public order, including detailed guidelines governing the use of live ammunition.*
We also note with concerns allegations of excessive use of force against protesters by Palestinian security forces in Bethlehem on Friday. We welcome the decision by the Government of the State of Palestine to set up an investigative committee into the conduct of Palestinian police during this demonstration.
We urge all sides to exercise restraint and to take measures to restore calm in the area, including through the maintenance of the historic status quo at Haram Al-Sharif, which includes the Al Aqsa Compound. We remind Palestinian and Israeli authorities of their duty to investigate any alleged excessive of force by their security forces and to ensure accountability.
* The conduct of law enforcement officials is addressed by a number of specific international standards and codes, including the UN Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials, and the UN Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials.
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