Publish date21 Jun 2024 - 11:26
Story Code : 639898

UN experts warn firms sending arms to Israel could be complicit in abuses

A group of United Nations experts on Thursday warned arms and ammunitions manufacturers against taking part in the transfer of weapons to Israel, saying it could make them complicit in human rights abuses and violations of international law.
UN experts warn firms sending arms to Israel could be complicit in abuses
"These companies, by sending weapons, parts, components, and ammunition to Israeli forces, risk being complicit in serious violations of international human rights and international humanitarian laws," the experts said in a statement.
The U.N. experts said the risk to arms firms had increased since the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ordered Israel last month to halt its military offensive in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, in a landmark emergency ruling in South Africa's case accusing Israel of genocide.
“In this context, continuing arms transfers to Israel may be seen as knowingly providing assistance for operations that contravene international human rights and international humanitarian laws and may result in profit from such assistance,” the experts said.
They said the ongoing Israeli military assault is characterised by indiscriminate and disproportionate attacks on the civilian population and infrastructure, including through extensive use of explosive and incendiary weapons in densely populated areas, as well as in the destruction and damage of essential and life-sustaining essential civilian infrastructure, including housing and shelters, health, education, water and sanitation facilities,” they added.
“These attacks have resulted in more than 37,000 deaths in Gaza and 84,000 injured. Of these deaths and injuries, an estimated 70 per cent are women and children. Today, children in Gaza are the largest group of amputee children in the world due to grave injuries sustained in the war. These operations have also resulted in severe environmental and climate damages,” they added.
“The imperative for an arms embargo on Israel and for investors to take decisive action is more urgent than ever, particularly in light of states' obligations and companies' responsibilities under the Geneva Conventions, the Genocide Convention, the international human rights treaties, and the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights,” the UN experts said.
The experts paid tribute to the sustained work of journalists who have been documenting and reporting on the devastating impact of these weapons systems on civilians in Gaza, and human rights defenders and lawyers, among other stakeholders, who are dedicated to holding States and companies accountable for the transfer of weapons to Israel.
The Special Rapporteurs, Independent Experts and Working Groups are part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the Council’s independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Special Procedures’ experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organisation and serve in their individual capacity.
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