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UNITED
NATIONS
S

        Security Council
PROVISIONAL
S/PV.6354
7 July 2010

6354th meeting
Wednesday, 7 July 2010, 10 a.m.
New York
Sixty-fifth year


President: Mrs. Ogwu (Nigeria)
Members:AustriaMr. Mr. Mayr-Harting
Bosnia and HerzegovinaMs. Čolaković
BrazilMrs. Viotti
ChinaMr. Wang Min
FranceMr. Araud
GabonMr. Moungara Moussotsi
JapanMr. Takasu
LebanonMr. Assaf
MexicoMr. Heller
Russian FederationMr. Churkin
TurkeyMr. Çorman
UgandaMr. Mugoya
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandMr. Parham
United States of AmericaMs. Rice
Agenda

Protection of civilians in armed conflict

/...

John Holmes, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights:

/...

In 2009 alone, there were thousands of civilian conflict deaths, from Gaza to Sri Lanka to the Democratic Republic of the Congo to Pakistan, Afghanistan and Somalia, and elsewhere too; and untold numbers of other casualties, including physical and psychological injury to men, women and children, as well as the destruction of their social, economic and cultural ties and institutions.

/...

But the use of “ordinary” explosive weapons in populated areas also repeatedly causes unacceptably high levels of harm to civilians. From air strikes and artillery attacks in Afghanistan, Somalia, Yemen and Gaza to rockets launched at Israeli civilian areas by Palestinian militants and car bombs and suicide attacks in Pakistan or Iraq, the use of explosive weapons and explosives has resulted in severe civilian suffering. The threefold increase in drone attacks in Afghanistan and Pakistan over the past year is of concern, given the inevitable risk of unintended civilian casualties.

/...

Ms. Navanethem Pillay, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights:

Both Palestinian and Israeli civilians have the right to live in peace and security. I welcome the decision of the Government of Israel to moderate its blockade of Gaza. Yet I stress the urgent need to ensure the open flow of imports and exports to and from Gaza. I urge the Council to take appropriate action to ensure the lifting in full of the blockade. In the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, settler violence, forced evictions, home demolitions, revocation of residency permits, arbitrary detention and torture are taking place with impunity. I urge the Security Council to support the recommendations of the United Nations Fact-Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict (see A/HRC/12/48), especially those that call for accountability for all perpetrators of violations. In accordance with relevant resolutions of the Human Rights Council, a follow-up mechanism is currently monitoring and assessing domestic, legal and other proceedings undertaken by both the Government of Israel and the Palestinian side. The Council has also mandated an independent fact-finding mission, which will soon start investigating violations resulting from the Israeli military action against the flotilla carrying humanitarian assistance to Gaza.

/...

That is why we have long called for an improvement in the unacceptable and unsustainable situation in Gaza. Resolution 1860 (2009) called for the delivery of humanitarian aid and called on States to alleviate the humanitarian and economic situation. As my Foreign Secretary has said and as the Secretary-General said in his statement yesterday, Israel’s announcement on 5 July on the easing of some restrictions on the import of goods into Gaza is welcome and marks an important step in the right direction. Those changes must now be implemented swiftly.

/...

Mr. Assaf (Lebanon):

/...

Standing idle as human rights and international humanitarian law are violated and civilian access to aid is consistently impeded means abandoning the victims twice. The people of Gaza, whose hospitals and schools have been repeatedly bombed by the Israeli army, should be allowed to access, without waiting endless hours at checkpoints, the humanitarian aid that would cater to their basic human needs. Moreover, the blockade of Gaza should be lifted immediately and without conditions.

The efforts to protect civilians should also tackle the root causes hampering enduring peace and security, in addition to dealing with imminent physical threats. While Lebanon commends the work of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) and OCHA in Gaza, the fact remains that unless the siege is lifted and the people of Gaza allowed to experience sustainable and sustained economic development, their basic human right to freedom from want and need will continue to be threatened. Lebanon also expresses its appreciation for the quick-impact projects carried out by the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon, which have made an important difference in the lives of our citizens.

/...

Standing idle as human rights and international humanitarian law are violated and civilian access to aid is consistently impeded means abandoning the victims twice. The people of Gaza, whose hospitals and schools have been repeatedly bombed by the Israeli army, should be allowed to access, without waiting endless hours at checkpoints, the humanitarian aid that would cater to their basic human needs. Moreover, the blockade of Gaza should be lifted immediately and without conditions.

The efforts to protect civilians should also tackle the root causes hampering enduring peace and security, in addition to dealing with imminent physical threats. While Lebanon commends the work of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) and OCHA in Gaza, the fact remains that unless the siege is lifted and the people of Gaza allowed to experience sustainable and sustained economic development, their basic human right to freedom from want and need will continue to be threatened. Lebanon also expresses its appreciation for the quick-impact projects carried out by the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon, which have made an important difference in the lives of our citizens.


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