UN votes to increase human rights monitoring in Palestine

UN votes to increase human rights monitoring in Palestinian territories
2 min read
22 March, 2019
A UN investigation found Israeli soldiers may have committed war crimes by shooting at unarmed Palestinian protesters during Gaza protests last year.
An injured Palestinian is being carried away during a 'Great March of Return' demonstration [Anadolu/Getty]
The top UN human rights body has asked the UN human rights chief to strengthen her office's presence in Palestinian areas. This follows an investigation that found Israeli soldiers may have committed war crimes by shooting at unarmed protesters in a deadly response to Gaza protests last year.

The Human Rights Council made the request to increase the monitoring presence in a resolution that passed 23-8 with 15 abstentions, a vote loaded with political implications that quickly drew accusations of bias from the Israeli government.

Five central and eastern European countries joined Australia, Fiji and Brazil opposing the measure. The UK and many EU countries abstained.

The resolution was among five considered focusing on Israel and "Occupied Palestinian Territory", the only "country situation" considered at every council meeting. A total of 29 resolutions were being considered in the four-week session ending Friday.

The council also criticised Israeli settlement expansion in the occupied Golan Heights a day after US President Donald trump announced it was "time" to recognise Israeli sovereignty over the territory.

Two Palestinian protesters were killed on the same day by Israeli fire along the Gaza border, the enclave's health ministry has announced.

Ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qudra told AFP the two men, aged 18 and 29, were shot in separate incidents during a resumption of protests along the fractious border. He did not announce their identities.

Earlier this month, A Palestinian teenager was killed by Israeli fire on the Gaza border 

At least 252 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire since March 2018, the majority shot during the weekly border protests, while others have been hit by tank fire or air strikes in response to violence from Gaza. 

Two Israeli soldiers have been killed over the same period.

UN Human Rights Council has earlier pressed Israel to revise its military rules of engagement that allow such abuses, as the first anniversary of the Great Return March protests near.

The weekly protests, dubbed the "Great Return March", have been taking place for nearly a year. Palestinians have gathered along the Gaza border fence for non-violent marches to demand an end to the Israeli siege on Gaza and the right for Palestinians to return to their homes lost since Israel's creation in 1948.

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