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Source: United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCHR)
21 May 2004
Press Document

25.05.04

REGULAR PRESS BRIEFING BY THE INFORMATION SERVICE

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Human Rights

José Luis Díaz, Spokesperson for the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, said this week saw two very tragic incidents which highlighted starkly the absolute need to protect human rights and civilians, even in time of war, especially in time of war. The first was in Gaza, when an Israeli helicopter fired into a crowd of peaceful demonstrators. Acting High Commissioner for Human Rights Bertrand Ramcharan was deeply concerned and disturbed about the consequences of Israel’s recent military operation in the Gaza strip, in particular in Rafah, and the disproportionate use of force in densely populated areas. He was particularly concerned about this incident. The acting High Commissioner called on Israel to bide by its obligations as an occupying power, to respect international law, and to ensure that all civilians and their property were protected. He reiterated the duty of protection of human rights, even in times of armed conflict. He called on Israel to stop the use of disproportionate or indiscriminate force.

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Statements on both incidents would be put out shortly, he added. The acting High Commissioner wanted to stress in relation to both these incidents that, even though there might be important security considerations, there was no license to kill.

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