Spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights: Cécile Pouilly
Date: 23 May 2014
Subject: 1) Israel/OPT
1) Israel / OPT
The High Commissioner has written to the Israeli Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Geneva to express her very serious concerns about a recent incident involving the killing of two Palestinian teenagers in the occupied West Bank.
On 15 May, Israeli security forces allegedly shot and killed two Palestinian minors taking part in a demonstration in Beituniya, in the West Bank, commemorating the 66th anniversary of what Palestinians call “Nakba day.”
The initial findings of OHCHR’s team on the ground indicate that the two minors aged 16 and 17 presented no direct threat at the time that they were killed. The killings may amount to extrajudicial executions under human rights law as well as wilful killings under international humanitarian law.
While we welcome reports that an investigation into the incident has been opened, we call for this investigation to be prompt, thorough, effective, independent, impartial and transparent. We also urge Israel to make public the findings of this investigation and any steps regarding accountability that are taken.
This event comes amid a series of incidents involving the excessive use of force by Israeli security forces in the West Bank, as reported in the High Commissioner’s last report to the Human Rights Council*.
Our Office has repeatedly raised its concerns about the excessive use of force by Israeli security forces and the lack of accountability for such incidents. Any use of force by the Israelis must be in accordance with the Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms.
*The report A/HRC/25/40 of 13 January 2014 is available here.