Situation in Gaza 'Beyond catastrophic' says UN High commissioner for human rights; death toll surges to 36,550

A Palestinian man and children push a cart with water containers, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, in southern Gaza City, in the Gaza Strip, June 3, 2024. - Photo: Reuters

PUTRAJAYA (Bernama): The United Nations (UN) High Commissioner for Human Rights, Volker Turk, has expressed "significant frustration” over the current situation in Gaza, which he described as "beyond catastrophic”.

According to him, even UN staff have limited access to Gaza, but the international organisation will continue to inform the world about the tragic situation.

He emphasised the importance of historical context, noting that in the wake of the Second World War, there was no system in place to ensure clear norms respecting human rights and the rules of war.

Turk highlighted the necessity of the norms and standards established by the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the 1949 Geneva Conventions on the conduct of war, though these have been brutally violated.

"The situation in the West Bank, with 500 people killed since Oct 7, is another alarming issue that needs to be addressed.

"It shows a harrowing situation in the West Bank. While Rafah is horrendous, we also see a deteriorating situation in the West Bank. Human rights are the answer to it," said Turk to the media at the end of his working visit to Malaysia, Tuesday.

Turk stressed the need for accountability, the end of impunity, and for the international community to wake up and find solutions.

"Those of us who defend the norms and standards continue to raise our voices, document, and report on it even under very difficult circumstances," he said.

Turk, an Austrian lawyer, has expressed his hope that initiatives to achieve a ceasefire and end the situation would be successful.

Turk was here at the invitation of the Malaysian Government.

The Foreign Ministry in a statement Monday said the visit is part of Malaysia’s continued engagement and collaboration with the UN to raise human rights awareness and strengthen literacy for the enjoyment of human rights by fellow Malaysians.

Meanwhile, Palestinian death toll from relentless Israeli attacks on Gaza since last October has reached 36,550, the Health Ministry in the besieged enclave said on Tuesday.

At least 82,959 people have also been injured in the onslaught, the ministry added in a statement, reported Anadolu Agency.

"Israeli forces killed 71 people, and injured 182 others in seven ‘massacres’ against families in the last 24 hours,” the ministry said.

"Many people are still trapped under rubble and on the roads as rescuers are unable to reach them,” it added.

Israel has continued its brutal offensive on the Palestinian enclave since Oct 7, 2023 despite a United Nations Security Council resolution demanding an immediate cease-fire in the enclave.

Nearly eight months into the Israeli war, vast swathes of Gaza lay in ruins amid a crippling blockade of food, clean water and medicine.

Israel stands accused of "genocide” at the International Court of Justice (ICJ), which in its latest ruling has ordered Tel Aviv to immediately halt its operation in Rafah, where over a million Palestinians had sought refuge from the war before it was invaded on May 6. - Bernama

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Palestine , Gaza , attack , genocide , UN , Turk , Gaza , West Bank , frustration


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