A Statement at the Human Rights Council on Behalf of the EU on the Situation in the Gaza Strip


On 23 July 2014, the Permanent Representative of Italy at the Human Rights Council, Amb. Maurizio Enrico Serra, expressed the position of the EU with respect to the Human Rights situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. The statement took place in the context of a debate on Israel’s military operation ‘Protective Edge’, which has started on 7 July 2014 in the Gaza Strip, and on the escalation of rocket fire against Israel. At the outset, Amb. Serra specified that the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Iceland, Serbia, Albania and Liechtenstein aligned themselves with his statement. 

He then stated: 

The EU would like to share with this Council some elements of the position expressed by the Foreign Affairs Council yesterday. The full text of the FAC Conclusions is public.

The EU is extremely concerned at the continued escalation of violence in Gaza and calls for an immediate cessation of the hostilities based on a return to the November 2012 ceasefire agreement. The EU welcomes and supports on-going efforts by regional partners, and in particular by Egypt.

The EU strongly condemns the indiscriminate firing of rockets into Israel by Hamas and militant groups in the Gaza Strip. The EU urges Hamas to immediately put an end to these criminal and unjustifiable acts and to renounce violence. While recognizing Israel’s legitimate right to defend itself against any attacks, the EU underlines that the Israeli military operation must be proportionate and in line with international humanitarian law.

The EU condemns the loss of hundreds of civilian lives and stresses the need for protection of civilians at all times. We call on all sides to immediately allow safe and full humanitarian access in Gaza and to implement in good faith an immediate ceasefire.

The EU has fully supported US-led peace efforts and urges the parties to resume meaningful negotiations with the aim of achieving a comprehensive peace agreement, based on a two-state solution, that ends the occupation which began in 1967.

The EU reiterates that all sides need to remedy past and current human rights violations and abuses, and regrets that Israel has not yet lifted obstacles preventing victims from seeking accountability. The EU also regrets that the de facto authorities in Gaza have not yet taken the necessary steps to bring to account the armed groups responsible for the firing of rockets at Israeli civilians. All perpetrators must be brought to justice.

The EU calls on all sides to fully cooperate with the OHCHR, and urges Israel to resume full cooperation with the Human Rights Council and its Special Procedures, including the newly appointed Special Rapporteur Makarim Wibisono, and to allow them full access also to occupied territory so that they can engage with all duty bearers. The EU would like to commend the High Commissioner and her office for the outstanding contribution to the protection of human rights in Israel and in occupied Palestinian territory.

With regard to the draft resolution, the EU hopes that the final text could reflect more accurately the situation on the ground and make use of existing mechanisms to address urgently the human rights concerns by all sides in Israel and in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem.

The Permanent Representative’s speech can be found at:

http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/HRC/Pages/HRCRegistration.aspx (registration required)

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