UN Human Rights Chief: Unconscionable Death and Suffering Happening in Gaza

A child looks on as Palestinians search for missing people under the rubble of a destroyed house following an Israeli air strike, at al-Nuseirat refugee camp, southern Gaza Strip, 18 June 2024. (EPA)
A child looks on as Palestinians search for missing people under the rubble of a destroyed house following an Israeli air strike, at al-Nuseirat refugee camp, southern Gaza Strip, 18 June 2024. (EPA)
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UN Human Rights Chief: Unconscionable Death and Suffering Happening in Gaza

A child looks on as Palestinians search for missing people under the rubble of a destroyed house following an Israeli air strike, at al-Nuseirat refugee camp, southern Gaza Strip, 18 June 2024. (EPA)
A child looks on as Palestinians search for missing people under the rubble of a destroyed house following an Israeli air strike, at al-Nuseirat refugee camp, southern Gaza Strip, 18 June 2024. (EPA)

Palestinians in the Israeli occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem are suffering a drastically worsening human rights environment, alongside "unconscionable death and suffering" in the Gaza Strip, the UN human rights chief said on Tuesday.

"The situation in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, is dramatically deteriorating," Volker Turk, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, told the opening session of the UN Human Rights Council.

The West Bank, where the internationally recognized Palestinian Authority exercises limited self-rule under Israeli occupation, has seen the worst unrest for decades, in parallel with the war in the Gaza Strip, which is controlled by Hamas.

Turk said that from the start of the Gaza war in October through mid-June, 528 Palestinians, 133 of them children, had been killed by Israeli security forces or settlers in the West Bank, in some cases raising "serious concerns of unlawful killings".

Twenty-three Israelis have been killed in the West Bank and Israel in clashes with or attacks by Palestinians, he said.

In Gaza, Turk said he was "appalled by the disregard for international human rights and humanitarian law" by parties to the war.

"Israel's relentless strikes in Gaza are causing immense suffering and widespread destruction, and the arbitrary denial and obstruction of humanitarian aid have continued," Turk said.

"Israel continues to detain arbitrarily thousands of Palestinians. This must not continue."

He added that Palestinian armed groups were continuing to hold hostages, including in populated areas, which put both the hostages and civilians at risk.

Israel's permanent mission to the UN in Geneva accused Turk of "completely omitting the cruelty and barbarity of terrorism" in his address to the UN Human Rights Council.

"Hostilities in Gaza are the direct result of Hamas terrorism, decades of rocket-fire and incitement against the Jewish people and the State of Israel, culminating in its brutal attacks against Israel on October 7," the diplomatic mission said in a statement.

Israel's ground and air campaign was triggered when Hamas-led fighters stormed into southern Israel on Oct. 7, killing around 1,200 people and seizing more than 250 hostages, according to Israeli tallies.

Israel's offensive has killed more than 37,400 people in Gaza, according to its health authorities, and left much of the enclave's population homeless.



Syrian Observatory: Türkiye Forcibly Deporting Thousands of Syrians

Syrian refugees at one of the crossings between Türkiye and Syria (Syrian Observatory for Human Rights)
Syrian refugees at one of the crossings between Türkiye and Syria (Syrian Observatory for Human Rights)
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Syrian Observatory: Türkiye Forcibly Deporting Thousands of Syrians

Syrian refugees at one of the crossings between Türkiye and Syria (Syrian Observatory for Human Rights)
Syrian refugees at one of the crossings between Türkiye and Syria (Syrian Observatory for Human Rights)

Türkiye has forcibly deported early in July, 3,540 Syrians with temporary protection identity cards to northern Syria, in addition to 840 refugees in the past 7 days, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Friday
“Turkish authorities forcibly detained more than 125 Syrian families, including children and women, in deportation centers in the province of Kayseri, as Ankara is preparing to send them back to Syria,” SOHR said.
It added that on Friday, 120 Syrians were already deported through the Turkish border crossings towards northern Syria.
According to the Observatory, “Türkiye is forcibly deporting more than 100 Syrians every day, most of them holding temporary protection ID card (Kimlik), with the aim of settling them in areas under its control in the Euphrates Shield, the Olive Branch and the Peace Spring.
SOHR condemned the “humiliating way and inhumane treatment” by Turkish authorities towards Syrian refugees forcibly being deported back to their country.
It also called on the international community to “assume its responsibilities towards protecting Syrian refugees in Türkiye and prevent their deportation under the pretext of sending them to a safe zone.”
The Turkish government said on Friday it was deporting at least seven Syrians for “provocatively” sharing their images while eating bananas on social media after a Turkish citizen complained that he cannot afford bananas while the refugees can, according to Bloomberg.
Three weeks ago, tensions rose between Turks and Syrian refugees after the arrest of a Syrian man who had been accused of harassing a child.
Turkish police then arrested 474 of people during anti-Syrian riots in several cities, damaging businesses and properties belonging to the Syrians.