Over dozen international NGOs urge UN to act for implementation of ICC orders on Rafah

'Immediate action is required to uphold international law and ensure the Government of Israel meets its obligations as mandated by the ICJ,' joint statement says

17:19 - 27/05/2024 Pazartesi
File photo
File photo

More than a dozen international NGOs on Monday called on the UN to “enforce” the International Court of Justice's orders for Israel to end military action in Rafah, southern Gaza Strip.

The “NGOs urgently call on all permanent and elected members of the UN Security Council to enforce the International Court of Justice's (ICJ) orders regarding Israel's actions in Rafah, Gaza,” a joint statement said.

“Immediate action is required to uphold international law and ensure the Government of Israel meets its obligations as mandated by the ICJ,” it added.

The statement came following Sunday's attack in Rafah, which killed dozens of civilians.

It said that the ICJ has determined that Israel's military operations in Rafah have “created a catastrophic humanitarian situation, in line with the repeated predictions and warnings of the humanitarian community in the build up to the offensive.”

“The Court has ordered an immediate halt to military operations in Rafah, the opening of the Rafah border crossing for unhindered humanitarian relief, and access for UN fact finding bodies to investigate potential violations of the Genocide Convention,” the joint statement said.

It further said that since the hostilities began, Gaza has faced unprecedented destruction and suffering as “over 35,800 Palestinians have been killed and 80,200 injured since 7 October 2023, according to the Ministry of Health in Gaza.”

“More than 800,000 people have been displaced from Rafah since 6 May 2024, with thousands living among rubble without essential services,” it added.

“Food distributions in Rafah have been suspended due to severe supply shortages and insecurity, worsening the humanitarian crisis,” the statement also said.

The NGOs said that “despite the ICJ's order for Israel to halt military operations, the bloodshed has continued, with recent attacks on a displacement camp near UN aid facilities in Rafah reportedly killing dozens of people, including children, and injuring many more.”

They said: “Failure to comply with these orders may prompt South Africa to address the issue to the Security Council, which has the authority under the UN Charter to enforce the ICJ's binding decision.

“We call on the UN Security Council to take decisive action to ensure the ICJ's orders are implemented, allowing humanitarian aid to reach those in need and enabling thorough investigations into violations of international law. The Security Council must act now to uphold justice, protect human rights, and maintain international peace and security. Failure to do so would further compromise the conditions to sustain human life in Gaza and would undermine global trust in the primacy of international law.”

The signatory NGOs are ActionAid, Action Corps, Avaaz, Care, DanChurchAid, Danish Refugee Council, Democratic Socialists of America, Humanity & Inclusion - Handicap International (HI), Médecins du Monde France, Spain and Switzerland, Medical Aid for Palestinians, Mennonite Central Committee, Middle East Children's Alliance, Norwegian Church Aid, Norwegian People's Aid, Norwegian Refugee Council, Oxfam , Plan International, Premiere Urgence Internationale and War Child Alliance.

At least 35 people were killed and dozens injured as Israel targeted a camp for displaced people and houses in the southern Gaza city of Rafah on Sunday, said medical sources and officials.

The attack occurred near the logistics base of the UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) in Tal al-Sultan, said the Gaza Media Office.

Israel has killed more than 36,000 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip since a cross-border attack by Hamas on Oct. 7 last year.

The military campaign has turned much of the enclave of 2.3 million people into ruins, leaving most civilians homeless and at risk of famine.

The attack came despite a ruling by the International Court of Justice that ordered Israel to halt its offensive in Rafah, where over a million Palestinians had sought refuge from the war before it was invaded on May 6.

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