In commemoration of Human Rights Day this past weekend, Al Mezan Centre for Human Rights and Lawyers for Palestinian Human Rights have submitted to the United Nations a significant update to its September 2014 complaint concerning Israel’s large-scale and systematic military attacks against family homes during its 2014 military offensive on Gaza. At the centre of our update are the results of a revealing survey with the Palestinians families gravely impacted by the 40 serious incidents documented in our 2014 complaint.
The affected 44 families plus the Mebarat Palestine Centre for People with Disabilities cumulatively suffered 385 fatalities during the bombardment.1 The military attacks against these families’ homes appear to have violated international humanitarian and human rights law, giving rise to the possible commission of serious international crimes.
Over two years on, our update shows there has been a disturbing lack of criminal investigations, and a complete absence of accountability and reparations, for the families at the heart of our 2014 complaint. It illuminates that only the utilisation of international justice mechanisms will be able to provide Palestinian victims with their fundamental right to remedy and justice. In this context, it is notable that our survey shows that the vast majority of families retain hope for achieving justice.
Our update further demonstrates the absence or very slow pace of reconstruction of family homes, which in main part is due to the nearly decade old illegal closure of Gaza, the very problematic Gaza Reconstruction Mechanism, and lack of funding. The ongoing internal displacement of a vast number of Palestinian families, including those who suffered immensely in the summer of 2014, must be urgently addressed as a major human rights concern that principally engages the right to adequate housing.
Al Mezan and LPHR call upon the UN Special Rapporteurs on Adequate Housing and on the Occupied Palestinian Territory to use this update and previous complaint as the basis for their own full investigation into the critical human rights issues of the large-scale and systematic targeting of family homes in Gaza by Israel’s military forces, plus the subsequent lack of reconstruction, and take appropriate action pursuant to our suggested recommendations including liaising with the Office of the Prosecutor at the International Criminal Court.
Al Mezan and LPHR further recommend that the UN Special Rapporteurs should urge the immediate lifting of the prolonged illegal closure of Gaza, and to either encourage the UN to urgently seek to revise the ineffective Gaza Reconstruction Mechanism so that it becomes compatible with basic international humanitarian and human rights law obligations, or alternatively to set-up a UN-led alternative mechanism for the unimpeded delivery of building materials in which the UN’s role as an impartial organisation is regained.
You can read the full complaint update here.
1 Al Mezan documented a total of 2,219 Palestinian deaths during the bombardment.