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UN rights chief endorses Gaza conflict report

[JURIST] UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay [official profile] on Thursday reiterated her support [statement text] for the recommendations of the UN Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict [official website; JURIST news archive]. In a statement to the 12th Special Session [materials] of the UN Human Rights Council [official website] on human rights violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, Pillay said that she agrees with the report's findings , describing it as a "call for urgent action to counter impunity":

I encourage the Council and the broader international community to give full consideration to the Fact Finding Mission's report. I also wish to underscore the necessity for all parties to carry out impartial, independent, prompt, and effective investigations into reported violations of human rights and humanitarian law in compliance with international standards.

Pillay said that the international response to the conflict must be based in international human rights law, and that "no party can claim that, in defending or supporting its own population, it is allowed to disavow the rights of others." On Wednesday, Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs B. Lynn Pascoe [official profile] also endorsed [UN News Centre report] the report's findings, calling it a "wake up call" in a meeting [minutes] of the UN Security Council held to discuss [JURIST report] the Gaza Conflict. Pascoe reiterated calls by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon [official website] that both Israel and Hamas should conduct credible investigations into alleged human rights violations. A vote on a draft resolution to endorse the report's findings is expected Friday.

Thursday's UNHRC meeting came at the request of the Palestinian authority, which had originally agreed to delay a vote on the resolution, but later reversed [JURIST reports] its position. Last month, Richard Goldstone, head of the Gaza mission, presented his findings [JURIST report] to the UNHRC. The Goldstone mission began its field operations in Gaza in June, entering Gaza through Egypt's Rafah crossing after Israel announced that it would not cooperate with the investigation, and concluded hearings [JURIST reports] in July. Goldstone was appointed to head the investigation [JURIST report] in April, amid strong criticism [JURIST report] from Israel. The probe followed a previous report [text, PDF; JURIST report], authored by UN Special Rapporteur Richard Falk, which criticized Israel for failing to take adequate precautions to distinguish between civilians and combatants in their offensives in the region. Both Israel and the US criticized [DOS briefing] the report, calling the rapporteur's views "anything but fair." In April, an internal Israeli military investigation found that war crimes had not been committed [JURIST report] in the offensive despite individual reports by Israeli soldiers [Haaretz report]. Israel has already disputed [JURIST report] a previous report to the UNHRC that accused it of human rights violations.

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