Human Rights Council 56 Side event on Gaza

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Publish Date : 06/29/2024 17:31
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ODVV joint side event on the human rights situation in Gaza in the 56th Session of the Human Rights Council

The Family Health Association of Iran and the Organization for the Defending Victims of Violence (ODVV), held a side event on the human rights situation in Gaza. The event was hosting the UN Special Rapporteur on the Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and took place at the same time as the 56th Session of the Human Rights Council, at the UN Geneva.
The event was held on July 8th, hosting Gina Romero, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Freedom of Peaceful Assembly; Julie Franck, Vice President of the Yaffa Association; Corinna Mullin, a professor of political science at a New York University; Dr. Raouf Salti, the founder and the President of Children's Right to Healthcare and Bellalia Mohamed, a human rights activist from the University of Geneva.

 

Gina Romero, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Freedom of Peaceful Assembly, discussed the situation of students' protests against Israel around the world, explaining that, in some countries, protests in support of Palestine have been banned, and in some others, these kinds of protests have been criminalized. She emphasized that the police response varied in different countries and in some cases, it was accompanied by violence and disproportionate, excessive use of force, which led to arrest of many protesters. Students have been punished in some universities by restrictions on their access to housing and food or jeopardizing their immigration status, she added. She also pointed out the violation of the right to freedom of peaceful assembly during the recent protests and emphasized the need for States to support this fundamental freedom. Finally, she concluded that governments should not resort to force in order to manage assemblies.

 

Corinna Mullin, reviewed Gaza history, while highlighting the current dire situation in Gaza, adding that, these crimes have inspired students to declare solidarity with the oppressed Palestinian nation, all over the world, especially in the United States of America. American students do not want their university fees to contribute to this genocide in anyway and they want to end any financial exchange with Israel. Although in these protests, we see beautiful scenes of solidarity between students and professors to achieve a moral goal, in line with international law, the US government and some universities are trying to suppress the protests, she added. More than 3,000 students have been arrested since April 17th, when the US students' protests began at Columbia University. Also, hundreds of students have been threatened with suspension or expulsion. The professors who supported the students have also faced punishments. In the meantime, the mainstream media has been extensively distorting the protest news in their reports. Even at the federal level, plans have been proposed in the Congress to deal severely with arrested students, such as canceling visas, cutting off financial support, and expelling them from the university, she emphasized. Despite these cases, students and professors have realized that in order to preserve their academic freedom and the right to freedom of speech, it is necessary, for them, to continue their struggle to stop the fascism and racism that is increasingly being manifested in the behavior of the American police force.

 

The next speaker, Mrs. Julie Franck, Vice President of the Yaffa Association (a Swiss non-governmental organization based in Geneva), referred to her experiences of visiting the Occupied Territories, she pointed out the miserable conditions of life and at the same time the significant development of the civil society in Gaza. When I was in Gaza in 2018, more than 80% of the people were in need of humanitarian aid while experiencing lack of access to water, food and electricity. I always witnessed heartbreaking scenes of bombings and shootings by Israeli military forces, she explained. Referring to the statement of the UN Secretary General that "if there is a hell on earth, it is the life of children in Gaza", she emphasized the unfortunate situation of Gaza children. She concluded her speech by a quotation from a Gaza citizen: "After 9 months of Israel bloody crimes in Gaza, we are deprived of a normal life and we are faced with fear, terror and death, but we have to resist, and we continue our resistance in Gaza as the most beautiful place in the world."

 

Dr. Raouf Salti, the next speaker, referring to the situation of children's rights in Gaza and the damage to the health infrastructure, said: Today, after 9 months of the Gaza war, the health system has been targeted and used as a weapon of war, in order to deprive citizens of health services, with the aim of destruction of the population. In Gaza, hospitals have turned into graveyards for patients, doctors and all medical staff, while, the health infrastructure is supported by the Geneva Conventions, he added. He also emphasized that, in the Gaza Strip, 5% of patients suffer from mental illness, and today we are facing a large number of children and adults with increased mental disorders, especially for children whose homes have been bombed and destroyed. In the end, while requesting the immediate reconstruction of the health infrastructure in the Gaza Strip, he stated that unfortunately, according to the international standards of the health system, there is no health infrastructure in the Gaza Strip, and international organizations should increase their pressure on Israel for a permanent ceasefire. Later in the event, Belalia Mohammad, a human rights activist from the University of Geneva, pointed out the number of student uprisings against the Gaza genocide across Europe, including in the University of Geneva. In Europe, some people believe that the student uprisings, in support of Gaza are considered anti-Semitic, while the crimes of the Zionists have been so great that the Jewish community has also condemned it, he continued. In the end, he pointed to the double standards of human rights in the West and demanded more attention from the world community and international organizations to Gaza and the Palestinian people.

 

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“ Human Rights Council 56 Side event on Gaza ”