In light of the escalation of violence in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories, Geneva Call relaunches a campaign to promote respect for IHL in the Middle East.
16 October 2023
It is with deep concern that we follow the ongoing escalation of violence in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories, particularly Gaza, where civilians, and especially children, are tragically bearing the brunt of decades of armed conflict.
Building on our longstanding engagement with weapon bearers in the Middle East region, Geneva Call decided to intensify the dissemination of messages reminding all of the importance of complying with IHL:
- We urgently call upon all parties to the conflict to comply with their obligations under International Humanitarian Law (IHL).
- Parties to the conflict must exercise utmost caution to avoid harm to civilians. Civilians and civilian objects including hospitals, schools, places of worship, and residential buildings must be respected and protected from attacks. Using weapons that cause indiscriminate damage and excessive harm is prohibited under IHL.
- International Humanitarian Law also strictly prohibits the taking of hostages and their use as human shields.
- Parties to the conflict should ensure access to humanitarian assistance and objects essential for the survival of the civilian population, including electricity, food, water, and medical supplies, to ensure compliance with IHL.
- Forced displacement is a violation of international law. It is essential to emphasize that asking civilians to evacuate a certain area does not diminish their status as protected persons under IHL. Civilians who choose to remain in their homes continue to enjoy the full scope of legal protection.
We urge all parties to the conflict to respect the fundamental principles of IHL and prioritize the safety, dignity, and well-being of civilians.