UN rights chief urges Hamas to end executions in Gaza

[JURIST] UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay [official website] on Wednesday urged Hamas [BBC backgrounder] to halt all executions [press release] in the Gaza strip [BBC backgrounder]. According to the UN, the attorney general in Gaza announced that those executions stayed for Ramadan would recommence at the end of the Eid al-Fitr celebrations. Pillay objected to these executions based on the civil unrest in the region, which she believes makes it impossible for a fair trial to take place:

One absolute requirement is that the death penalty can only be imposed after a fair trial. This is currently not possible in Gaza, neither legally nor practically. ... Serious concerns have also been raised about ill-treatment and torture during interrogations of persons later sentenced to death. ... Therefore I repeat my appeal to the de facto authorities in Gaza to implement a moratorium on executions and to fully uphold and promote the right to life.
The UN has not yet indicated if face to face contact with Hamas leaders has occurred regarding these executions, but has urged a review of the International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights [text].

The UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the occupied Palestinian territories [official website] in June called on Israel [statement] to end its blockade of the Gaza Strip. Israel's policy in the Gaza Strip has been a subject of controversy. In December 2012 the UN called on Israel [JURIST report] to fully implement and continue to support the recent conflict-ending ceasefire agreement with Palestinians in Gaza. Israel was also urged [JURIST report] to end the blockade in June of that year. In June 2010, Israel agreed [JURIST report] to ease the blockade to allow access to more construction materials [Haaretz report] to repair damage from the 2008-2009 Operation Cast Lead [GlobalSecurity backgrounder; JURIST news archive].

 

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