oPt

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights condemns violence in Gaza and Sderot and calls for protection of civilians

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Geneva, 23 May 2007: United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour expressed alarm over the week-long upsurge of violence in the Gaza Strip and its devastating impact on an already vulnerable civilian population. The High Commissioner voiced hope that the ceasefire reached among Palestinian factions will last.

The High Commissioner also condemned the ongoing rocket attacks against Sderot and called for their immediate cessation: "Deliberate attacks against civilians, and the use of indiscriminate weapons, which I personally witnessed during my visit to Sderot a few months ago, are in flagrant violation of cardinal principles of international humanitarian law and must stop."

The High Commissioner also called upon Israel to exercise restraint and precaution, recalling that any resort to force must distinguish between civilian and military objectives at all times. "Extra judicial killings are in breach of both international human rights and humanitarian law, and cannot be justified under any circumstance".