UN High Commissioner Spokesman: ‘Israel must allow and guarantee the exercise of the right to freedom of expression and assembly’
Translated and edited by: Committee for Justice
Geneva: May 11, 2021
The spokesman for the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Robert Colville, said on Tuesday that Israel must allow and guarantee the exercise of the rights to freedom of expression, association and assembly, pointing out that it is not permissible to use force against those who peacefully exercise their rights.
This statement came in the wake of the wounding of 915 Palestinians between May 7 and 10 in East Jerusalem, and more than 200 in the West Bank, most of them at the hands of Israeli security forces, in attacks on protesters who rose up against forced evictions of Palestinians in East Jerusalem.
“Israeli Security Forces must allow and ensure the exercise of the right to freedoms of expression, association and assembly. No force should be used against those exercising their rights peacefully. When use of force is necessary, it should comply fully with international human rights standards,” Colville said.
“This includes the prohibition of unnecessary or disproportionate use of force. This has not been the case in the past days. We are particularly concerned about the impact on children and reiterate the call by UNICEF for children to be protected from violence and kept out of harm’s way at all times. Detained children should be released,” he added.
The spokesman also noted that the Israeli forces launched air strikes on Gaza, which killed 24 Palestinians, including nine children and one woman, and 103 were wounded so far, stressing the need for Israel to respect international humanitarian law, especially the basic principles related to the conduct of hostilities, and that any attack, including air strikes, must be directed only at military objectives, and all feasible precautions must be taken to avoid civilian deaths and injuries and damage to civilian objects.
Colville also called for redoubling efforts to calm the situation and avoid more violence.