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UN rights office concerned over forced evictions in West Bank

The UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) on Tuesday expressed concern [press release] that the forced eviction of Palestinians in the West Bank [JURIST news archive] by Israeli authorities could amount to a violation of international law. Last week Israeli authorities began the demolition of structures lacking building permits in six locations. Inhabitants were ordered to evacuate immediately or risk high monetary fines. According to OHCHR spokesperson Cecile Pouilly, the permanent removal of families, without offering alternative housing or options, may amount to a violation of the prohibition to forcibly transfer individuals or communities under article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, as well as "the prohibition of forced eviction under international human rights law, and the right to adequate housing and freedom from arbitrary or unlawful interference with privacy, family and home." The OHCHR urged Israeli authorities to investigate all cases of forced eviction, hold accountable all those responsible for violations and publish its findings on the matter.

Conflicts between Israel and Palestine continue to raise concern of possible human rights violations. In June a UN rights expert expressed concern [JURIST report] over Israeli efforts to mask violations of Palestinian rights. In March a UN rights experts called for Israel to cease all settlement activity and immediately withdraw settlers [JURIST report] from Palestinian territories due to the possibility of human rights abuses. In December the UN called on Israel to implement and support [JURIST report] the conflict-ending cease fire agreement with Palestinians in Gaza. Last August Amnesty International [advocacy website] urged Israel to investigate [JURIST report] the alleged mistreatment of two Palestinian prisoners currently on hunger strike.

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