Pakistan: Israel must face justice for Gaza atrocities

January 11, 2009

ISLAMABAD (APP) -- Pakistan condemned the ongoing Israeli assault on the Palestinian people in Gaza as a blatant violation of international law which constitutes a war crime. Speaking on behalf of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), Ambassador Zamir Akram, Permanent Representative of Pakistan to the UN, called for bringing the culprits to international justice.

According to a message received here on Saturday speaking at the special session of the Human Rights Council on the human rights situation in occupied Gaza Strip, he stated that the unrestrained use of force, the scale of destruction, the killing of innocent civilians, including women and children, the violation of UN safe havens and the collective punishment of an entire people were blatant breaches of international law.
He said that those act, in their totality, constituted war crimes and crimes against humanity.
Ambassador Akram said that the people of Palestine, under Israeli occupation for many decades, were deprived of their right to liberty, the right to determine their lives and above all the right to life.
He said that the 1.5 million people of Gaza, over half of them children, had been subjected to a crippling blockade for the past eighteen months.
The people of Gaza were incarcerated, deprived of the most basic human necessities, and were relentlessly pounded with high explosives from the air, sea and land, he said.
Ambassador Akram stressed that the Security Council’s call for a cease fire should be immediately implemented.
He called on the Security Council and the international community must live up to its responsibilities to:
1. end the Israeli aggression on the Gaza Strip;
2. ensure cessation of all hostilities and provide immediate protection for the Palestinian people;
3. secure a ceasefire and return to calm; and
4. compel Israel, the occupying power, to lift its oppressive blockade on the Gaza Strip, open the crossings and ensure unhindered provision of humanitarian supplies by the international community.
Ambassador Akram stated that the root cause of all violence, insecurity and instability in the region was Israel’s protracted and forcible occupation. If this cycle of violence and retaliation was to be effectively countered, the international community would need to step up its efforts to end this occupation, he emphasized.
Ambassador Akram said that the OIC welcomed the statement of the UN Secretary General, High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territory condemning the Israeli aggression as a disproportionate act and violation of all human rights and humanitarian law principles.
Ambassador Akram called on the Human Rights Council members to respond to the call of conscience and rise above political and ideological considerations.
He urged the Council to adopt the resolution condemning Israeli violations by consensus.