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Civil Society Urges the Human Rights Council to Address the Root Causes of the Escalating Crisis in the Gaza Strip
08، Oct 2020

45th Regular Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council


Item 7 – Human rights situation in Palestine and other occupied Arab territories


Joint Oral Intervention by


Al Mezan Centre for Human Rights

Al Haq, Law in the Service of Man

Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies


Date: 30 September 2020

Speaker: Mrs. Nuriya Oswald, Al Mezan Centre for Human Rights


In her opening statement at the start of this Council session, High Commissioner Bachelet rightfully referred to the situation in Gaza, occupied Palestine, as an “escalating tragedy” where the population continues to face “deeper suffering” and “humanitarian burdens”.[1] Al Mezan emphasizes that the situation in Gaza is intentional, it is human-made and it is carefully orchestrated by the Israeli government. 


“This is purely a human-made disaster,” said the Special Rapporteur on the oPt, “and could be quickly reversed if the political will existed.”[2] Instead, 14 years into the brutal closure and blockade, last month,[3] Israel launched a series of additional punitive measures on Gaza that dramatically restricted the population’s access to water and electricity. A devastating spike in the violation of the population’s basic human rights followed, including the rights to water and sanitation, to an adequate standard of living, to health, and to the prohibition on the use of cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment. The measures coincided with the spread of COVID-19 and served to further undermine Gaza’s ability to implement even basic health measures—such as hand hygiene.


Israel’s 14-year closure and blockade policy contravenes international law, as the High Commissioner reiterated,[4] and amounts to the unlawful collective punishment of two million people for which justice and accountability is due. 


Al Mezan calls on this Council and its Member States to address the root causes of the escalating crisis in the Gaza Strip by calling on Israel to fully, immediately and unconditionally end its illegal closure of Gaza; end all forms of collective punishment imposed on Palestinians, and pursue international justice and accountability for Israel’s widespread and systematic human rights violations and apparent international crimes committed against the Palestinian people.


Watch the video statement at the UN TV here


[1] 45th Session of the Human Rights Council, Item 2: Global Human Rights UpdateStatement by Michelle Bachelet, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, 14 Sept 2020 

[2] “Israel/OPT: Respecting Fundamental Rights in Gaza is Pre-Condition to Achieving Peace, says UN Human Rights Expert,” 1 Sept 2020. Available at:

[3] Between 13-31 August 2020

[4] See footnote 1.