Knitting and Sljivovica

Sep 19, 2011

UN experts say Israel's blockade of Gaza illegal

verbalresistance:

Israel’s naval blockade of the Gaza Strip violates international law, a panel of human rights experts reporting to a UN  body said on Tuesday, disputing a conclusion reached by a separate UN probe into Israel’s raid on a Gaza-bound aid ship.

The so-called ‘Palmer Report’ on the Israeli raid of May 2010 that killed nine Turkish activists said earlier this month that Israel had used unreasonable force in last year’s raid, but its naval blockade of the Hamas-ruled strip was legal.      

A panel of five independent UN rights experts reporting to the UN Human Rights Council rejected that conclusion, saying the blockade had subjected Gazans to collective punishment in “flagrant contravention of international human rights and humanitarian law”.    

The four-year blockade deprived 1.6 million Palestinians living in the enclave of fundamental rights, they said.    

“In pronouncing itself on the legality of the naval blockade, the Palmer Report does not recognise the naval blockade as an integral part of Israel’s closure policy towards Gaza which has a disproportionate impact on the human rights of civilians,” they said in a joint statement.    

An earlier fact-finding mission named by the same UN forum to investigate the flotilla incident also found in a report last September that the blockade violated international law. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) says the blockade violates the Geneva Conventions.

Israel says its Gaza blockade is a precaution against arms reaching Hamas and other Palestinian guerrillas by sea.    

The four-man panel headed by former New Zealand Prime Minister Geoffrey Palmer found Israel had used unreasonable force in dealing with what it called “organised and violent resistance from a group of passengers”.     

Turkey has downgraded ties with Israel over the incident.    

Richard Falk, UN  special rapporteur on human rights in the occupied Palestinian territories and one of the five experts who issued Tuesday’s statement, said the Palmer report’s conclusions were influenced by a desire to salve Turkish-Israeli ties.    

“The Palmer report was aimed at political reconciliation between Israel and Turkey. It is unfortunate that in the report politics should trump the law,” he said in the statement.    

About one-third of Gaza’s arable land and 85 percent of its fishing waters are totally or partially inaccessible due to Israeli military measures, said Olivier De Schutter, UN  special rapporteur on the right to food, another of the five.    

At least two-thirds of Gazan households lack secure access to food, he said. “People are forced to make unacceptable trade-offs, often having to choose between food or medicine or water for their families.”    

The other three experts were the UN  special rapporteurs on physical and mental health; extreme poverty and human rights; and access to water and sanitation.

Today’s Zaman

(via jonathan-cunningham)

Jul 28, 2011

I am utterly mortified. #killingfields

notfondofasking:

I can not believe that up until recently I hadn’t actually heard about the Genocide in Sri Lanka that happened over the course of 2008 and 2009. I finally plucked up the courage to watch this a channel 4 documentary called ‘Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields’. It has genuine footage from civilians of them being shelled, shot at, injured and dead in massive numbers that the Sri Lankan Government has rejected and claimed that is it not real footage but a lie. Even after a official UN report earlier this year. 

A few terrifying facts;

  • the title ‘Killing fields’ comes from how the Government would announce ‘no fire zones’ wait for civilians to arrive in their masses and shell them constantly
  • 40,000 people were killed in the last few weeks [death toll is uncertain]
  • there were 400,000 people made homeless and fleeing their cities
  • war crimes have been committed by the Government of Sri Lanka such as execution on prisoners of war [i.e. murder], rape, abuse, torture and bombing of hospitals [consistently].
  • those who surrendered were also shot point blank
  • the man behind it all is still President of Sri Lanka
  • the Sri Lankan Government has support from China who provided heavy artillery air crafts as well as support from Russia and Pakistan.
  •  in 1983 1/2 million Tamils fled but 800,000 populated Sri Lanka - 1999 mass graves were found - 600 people went missing 
  • Year 2000 Massacre 
  • by 2009 the Tamil population had fallen to half of what it was in 1983. Since the massacre it is uncertain how many are left as there is no official figure

Three things you should please make the time to do;

  1. Watch the documentary linked above if you can [I’m not sure if you can watch it outside the UK] If you are not able to watch it there is a youtube link here which summaries what the show is about as well as this description provided by Channel 4; 

    Jon Snow presents a forensic investigation into the final weeks of the quarter-century-long civil war between the government of Sri Lanka and the secessionist rebels, the Tamil Tigers.

    With disturbing and distressing descriptions and film of executions, atrocities and the shelling of civilians the programme features devastating new video evidence of war crimes - some of the most horrific footage Channel 4 has ever broadcast.

    Captured on mobile phones, both by Tamils under attack and government soldiers as war trophies, the disturbing footage shows: the extra-judicial executions of prisoners; the aftermath of targeted shelling of civilian camps; and dead female Tamil fighters who appear to have been raped or sexually assaulted, abused and murdered.

    The film is made and broadcast as UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon faces growing criticism for refusing to launch an investigation into ‘credible allegations’ that Sri Lankan forces committed war crimes during the closing weeks of the bloody conflict with the Tamil Tigers.

    In April 2011, Ban Ki-moon published a report by a UN-appointed panel of experts, which concluded that as many as 40,000 people were killed in the final weeks of the war between the Tamil Tigers and government forces.

    It called for the creation of an international mechanism to investigate alleged violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law committed by government forces and the Tamil Tigers during that time.

    This film provides powerful evidence that will lend new urgency to the panel’s call for an international inquiry to be mounted, including harrowing interviews with eye-witnesses, new photographic stills, official Sri Lankan army video footage, and satellite imagery.

    Also examined in the film are some of the horrific atrocities carried out by the Tamil Tigers, who used civilians as human shields.

    Channel 4 News has consistently reported on the bloody denouement of Sri Lanka’s civil war. Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields presents a further damning account of the actions of Sri Lankan forces, in a war that the government still insists was conducted with a policy of Zero Civilian Casualties.

    The film raises serious questions about the consequences if the UN fails to act, not only with respect to Sri Lanka but also to future violations of international law.

    You can follow the programme on Twitter using #KillingFields 
  2. Read the information provided on this facebook group which is very well put together ……. here
  3. Sign this petition 

We need to help those who need it most. These people are living in fear/poverty and injustice.

EDIT: Total killed so far 100,000

(Source: )