UN Rights Council Considers Call For Halt To Arms Sales To Israel

On Friday, the UN Human Rights Council debated whether to seek a halt in military sales to Israel, whose assault in Gaza has killed over 33,000 people, the majority of whom are civilians.

If the statement is adopted, it will be the first time the United Nations’ top human rights body has taken a stance on the bloodiest war to hit the embattled Palestinian territory.

The draft statement urges countries to “cease the sale, transfer, and diversion of arms, munitions, and other military equipment to Israel”.

It stated that this is necessary, among other things, “to prevent further violations of international humanitarian law as well as violations and abuses of human rights”.

It emphasizes that in January, the International Court of Justice found “that there is a plausible risk of genocide” in Gaza.

Pakistan presented a draft resolution on Friday on behalf of all Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) member nations except Albania, calling for “an immediate ceasefire” and “immediate emergency humanitarian access and assistance.”

It comes after the UN Security Council in New York finally passed a resolution calling for a ceasefire last week, thanks to an abstention by Washington, Israel’s closest friend and greatest military supplier.

However, the cease-fire demand has had no effect on the ground.

The Gaza war began after Hamas launched an offensive on Israel on October 7, killing around 1,170 persons, the majority of whom were civilians, according to an AFP tally of Israeli official estimates.

Palestinian militants also captured over 250 hostages on October 7, with 130 still in Gaza, including 34 who the army claims are dead.

According to the health ministry in Hamas-controlled Gaza, Israel’s retaliatory attack has killed at least 33,037 Palestinians, the majority of them were women and children.

Does not name Hamas

The draft resolution of the Human Rights Council does not mention Hamas, but it condemns the firing of rockets at Israeli residential areas and demands “the immediate release of all remaining hostages”.

The harshly worded letter regularly refers to Israel as “the occupying Power”.

The demand is for Israel to terminate its occupation of Palestinian territory and eliminate all kinds of collective punishment, including the Gaza Strip closure.

The wording, which was updated late on Thursday and removed multiple references to genocide, continues to express “grave concern at statements by Israeli officials amounting to incitement to genocide”.

It also encourages countries to “prevent the continued forcible transfer of Palestinians within and from Gaza”.

It specifically warns “against any large-scale military operations in the city of Rafah” in the south of the densely populated Gaza Strip, where well over one million civilians are sheltering, warning of “devastating humanitarian consequences”.


The draft resolution also condemns “the use of starvation of civilians as a method of warfare in Gaza,” where the United Nations has warned that famine is imminent.

Additionally, it condemned “the unlawful denial of humanitarian access, wilful impediment to relief supplies and deprivation of objects indispensable to the survival of civilians, including food, water, electricity, fuel and telecommunications, by Israel” .

The article also criticizes Israel’s “use of explosive weapons with wide-area effects by Israel in populated areas in Gaza”.

The draft resolution released on Friday condemns Israel’s refusal to participate with various inquiries authorized by the UN Human Rights Council.

It also emphasizes the “imperative of credible, timely, and comprehensive accountability for all violations of international law” in Gaza.

It requests that the Commission of Inquiry on the Rights Situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, the highest-level UN investigation launched prior to October 7, investigate all “direct and indirect transfer or sale of arms, munitions, parts, components, and dual use items to Israel, the occupying Power”.

The team, it stated, should identify the weapons used since October 7 and “analyze the legal implications of these transfers.”

The investigators should deliver their conclusions to the council at its 59th session, scheduled for mid-2025, according to the statement.

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