Human Rights in Our Name
Under international law all parties involved in a conflict, must whether state or non state armed actors, respect international humanitarian law. The aim of which is to regulate conduct during hostilities and respect for human rights law.
“The Human Rights Act 1998 is an Act of Parliament of the United Kingdom which received Royal Assent on the 9 November 1998, and mostly came into force on 2 October. Its aim is to give further affect in UK law to the rights contained in the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, but more commonly known as the European Convention on Human Rights. The Act makes available in UK courts a remedy for breach of a Convention right without the need to go to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.”
So there we have it, the protection of our Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms make us feel safe? Protected? Free? Well to a degree. And because of certain rights I will be demonstrating that today (9th August 2014) for the Palestinians under pressure, under attack, under unlawful occupation, this brings some meaning to my fundamental rights and reminds me of my duty as a free citizen of the international community to peaceful protest. Though for the time being little solace for Palestinians murdered by a rampaging Israel who wilfully ignores the Palestinians, their human rights, and takes violence to new depths of depravity.
Others protested and marched too. Hundreds of thousands marched in London. The compassionate route took us around the shamed American embassy and into Hyde Park. This ‘day of rage’, conducted peacefully, reverberated around the activists’ globe where for intance 50,000 strong in Cape Town South Africa demonstrated. In defiance of a cowardly “ban imposed by French authorities” thousands marched through Paris. In addition, 2000 souls marched in Melbourne and Sydney. Others in India, Greece, Jordan and Yemen gave voice to the outrage against the military actions of Israel toward an essentially defenceless Palestine. The PSC estimated that 150,000 marched through London. And still others have demonstrated: Montréal, Muscat, Zagreb, Barcelona, Brussels, Algiers, Tokyo, Berlin, Chicago (one million protested), Caracas, Kuala Lumpur, Ottawa, Amsterdam, Austin Texas, Kyoto, Washington DC, Sofia. In fact other demonstrations were held in Peru, Chile, Cyprus, Poland, Ireland, Ecuador, Malta and many other countries.
In London“Protesters packed the main shopping artery of Oxford Street, marching to the US embassy and on to Hyde Park, many of them chanting “Free, Free Palestine” and holding up banners saying “UK – Stop Arming Israel”.
According to ongoing BBC reports “more than 1,900 Palestinian civilians have been killed in four weeks of Israeli attacks in the Gaza Strip, the UN says.” The Palestinian death toll is -and rising- 1,935 killed to include 1,408 civilians: 452 were children and 235 women.
Prime Minister David Cameron has said as of yesterday “The conflict in Gaza has taken a terrible toll. The UK has been at the forefront of humanitarian efforts to help those affected and it is right that we see what more we can do.” Little can be done for the shattered families of the murdered women and children recorded above. And let us be clear Britain has been complicit in murder by selling arms to Israel. So where is the arms embargo Mr Cameron? Is Britain not profiting by selling arms to Israel? And is this not unconscionable?
Therefore, Facilitate Global fully backs the UNGA Human Rights Council’s Twenty-first special session, where in a 5 page Resolution S-21/1 titled ‘Ensuring respect for international law in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem’ was adopted on 23 July 2014, stating among things that “The Human Rights Council, Guided by the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,
Recalling General Assembly resolution 60/251 of 15 March 2006 and Human Rights Council resolutions 5/1 and 5/2 of 18 June 2007,
Reaffirming the right to self-determination of the Palestinian people and the inadmissibility of the acquisition of land by the use of force, as enshrined in the Charter,
Affirming the applicability of international human rights law and international humanitarian law, in particular the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian ….”
Says Paulina Parhiala, Director of ACT Alliance, “The resolution also demands that Israel immediately ceases its military action and lifts the blockade of Gaza. The humanitarian situation in Gaza is now dire, and needs even more commitment from the international community to ensure protection and safety of civilians and all objects protected by international humanitarian law, and to ensure humanitarian access in Gaza. This resolution should be implemented immediately in order to bring to an end the suffering of innocent people both in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory. It is unacceptable that over 600 people, mostly civilians, have died as a result of the escalated violence.”
Baroness Warsi who recently resigned, according to her conscience and understanding of the ongoing Israeli illegal occupation, said on BBC Radio 4 Today programme “What we need to do right now is put all our efforts into making sure we move the government’s position, that they suspend arms exports licenses immediately, that they -the government- start to lead the international effort on accountability on both sides and that they move towards a Middle East policy that is, in the long term, sustainable.”
Patrick Wintor, Matthew Taylor and Dominic Smith writing for the Guardian 6th August 2014 ”Since 2010, UK arms export licences to Israel worth £42m have been granted to 131 British defence manufacturers. According to government documents the equipment ranges from components for drones to “military radars”, “targeting systems” and “electronic warfare equipment”. Details published last month by the Commons Committees on Arms Export Controls (CAEC) show one licence has been issued in relation to the American-built Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) programme, which is due to start arriving in Israel from 2016, with the first aircraft becoming operational in 2018.”
Moreover, “Documents obtained by the Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) under the Freedom of Information Act reveal that since 2010 there have been £42m worth of licences to export military-only equipment to Israel.£10 million of which has been licensed in the past monthes Licences granted in the past year include a wide range of hardware from components for naval guns to ammunition, submarines and combat aircraft parts to components for drones.”
In addition the Kuwait News Agency (KNNA) stated “July 12th 2014 British Companies sell spare parts and military technology to the Israeli army worth Billions of pounds.” Further, “Arab Organization for Human Rights in [the] UK (AOHR) said “Britain was profiting from Israeli massacres in Gaza as Israel intensifies its assault on the [Gaza] strip.”
Cameron talks of increased humanitarian efforts to help the Gaza citizens whilst supplying the arms along with America that kills and maims them. If this doesn’t constitute a war crime I know not what does.
Clive Hambidge is Human Development Driector. Clive can be contacted by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.