Situation in Gaza dominates session of the UN Human Rights Council – Jornal OPaís

The humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip will dominate attention at the 55th session of the UN Human Rights Council, which begins next Monday in Geneva, Switzerland, with several debates scheduled on developments in the occupied Palestinian territories.

The meeting, which ends on May 5th, was planned today, in a press conference, by the new president of this body, the Moroccan ambassador Omar Zniber, elected last month for a one-year term, and who is making his debut as presiding over the work of the Council on Monday.

The session begins with testimonies, including via videoconference, from the UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, the President of the United Nations General Assembly, Dennis Francis, and the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Volker Türk.

At a time when the Gaza Strip is plunged into a catastrophic humanitarian situation, following Israeli attacks, and when most of the international community expresses deep concern about Israel’s announced intention to carry out an offensive in Rafah, a city located in South of Palestinian territory, next to the closed border with Egypt, where almost one and a half million people are concentrated, this will be an unavoidable topic of the session.

“It is a matter that causes extreme concern, given the seriousness of the situation and the humanitarian disaster that has occurred since October 7, the date of the attack by the Islamist group Hamas, in Israel, which provoked the Israeli offensive in the Gaza Strip.

As president, I can only encourage Council action to put an end to this humanitarian disaster, with concern for all the victims, from all sides”, declared Omar Zniber yesterday at the press conference held in Geneva .

Asked about the possibility of the UN Human Rights Council holding a special session on the situation in Gaza, Zniber did not rule out such a scenario, but argued that it makes no sense to hold a session without the prospect of achieving “tangible results”, and recalled that there are already several discussions scheduled on the issue.

Indeed, according to the working agenda of this 55th session, within a week, on 29 February, the Council will hold an interactive dialogue on the High Commissioner’s report on the occupied Palestinian territories, including East Jerusalem, and the obligation to ensure accountability and justice.

On March 26th, there will be an “interactive dialogue” with the UN special rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967, the Italian Francesca Albanese, who has been banned from entering Israel since last week, due to having stated that the Hamas attacks of October 7th were caused by Israeli oppression.

Also on March 26, in the afternoon, there will be a presentation of the reports by the high commissioner and the secretary-general on the human rights situation in Palestine and other occupied Arab territories, and the general debate on this item on the agenda.

At today’s press conference [ontem]the new president of the CDH made it his “first priority” for his mandate to “reduce tensions” within the Council and establish bridges for dialogue.

“I think that, above all else, there is a need to reduce the tensions that harm the Council’s work. As we all know, in recent years there have been confrontations that have had an impact on the Human Rights Council. There are noticeable tensions, both in the debates and in the decisions adopted by the Council”, he pointed out.

Omar Zniber thus highlighted his “first priority” as carrying out “preventive diplomatic action, to encourage dialogue and build bridges within a framework of mutual respect”.

Created in 2006 by the UN General Assembly, the Human Rights Council, which benefits from the material, technical and secretariat support of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, is an intergovernmental body of the United Nations system composed of 47 elected States by a majority of the 193 States of the United Nations General Assembly, responsible for the promotion and protection of all human rights throughout the world.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.