21 November 2008 (UN News Center) - Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today voiced regret that Israel has not yet heeded his call to urgently permit the delivery of humanitarian assistance to the civilian population of Gaza.
A statement issued by his spokesperson said Mr. Ban, who phoned Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on Tuesday to urge him to facilitate the freer movement of urgently needed humanitarian supplies and of United Nations personnel into Gaza, continued to express his concern at the situation following Israel's closure of crossing points.
"The Secretary-General reiterates his condemnation of rocket and other attacks by Palestinian militants against Israeli civilian targets," the statement added. "He calls for an end to such attacks and urges full respect by all parties for the calm that has been in effect since 19 June 2008," it added, referring to the truce on Palestinian rocket attacks and Israeli assaults.
Mr. Ban has been briefed on the humanitarian situation in Gaza by UN Emergency Relief Coordinator John Holmes, it said, and supports the statement just released by his office calling on all parties to refrain from violence and allow the immediate and sustained reopening of border crossings.
"Measures which increase the hardship and suffering of the civilian population of the Gaza Strip as a whole are unacceptable and must cease immediately," Mr. Holmes said.
Mr. Holmes - who is also Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs - noted that the Secretary-General had repeatedly condemned rocket attacks aimed at Israeli civilian targets, but he also expressed particular concern that the human dignity and well-being of the civilians in Gaza, over half of whom are children, do not appear to be a major issue for the parties to the conflict.
United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights calls for an immediate end to the Israeli blockade of Gaza
Press Release by The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), 18 November 2008
United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
Navi Pillay called today for an immediate end to the Israeli blockade of Gaza.
"By function of this blockade, 1.5 million Palestinian men, women and children
have been forcibly deprived of their most basic human rights for months. This is
in direct contravention of international human rights and humanitarian law. It
must end now," she said.
The High Commissioner further called for the Israeli authorities to facilitate the urgent passage of essential humanitarian goods, including food, medical supplies, and fuel, to immediately allow the restoration of electricity, water and other essential services, and to lift movement restrictions preventing the passage of civilians for medical, educational and religious purposes. "Decisive steps must be taken to preserve the dignity and basic welfare of the civilian population, more than half of which are children," she added.
While welcoming the decision by Israel to allow a limited number of trucks to enter Gaza on 17 November, the High Commissioner recalled the Occupying Power's obligation to fully cease all measures that are inconsistent with its obligations under international law. "Only a full lifting of the blockade followed by a strong humanitarian response will be adequate to relieve the massive humanitarian suffering evident in Gaza today."
Calling on all sides to respect international law and the security of civilian populations, the High Commissioner also appealed for a complete cessation of Israeli air strikes and incursions, and of rocket fire by Palestinian groups.
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