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Statement by the Chair of the Asia-Pacific Forum of National Human Rights Institutions (APF) on the Palestinian-Israeli Armed Conflict
Date : 2023.10.26 11:37:57 Hits : 453

Statement by the Chair of the Asia-Pacific Forum of National Human Rights Institutions (APF) on the Palestinian-Israeli Armed Conflict


- Calling for the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict in Accordance with International Humanitarian Law and the Protection of the Work of the Palestinian Independent Commission for Human Rights -


On Wednesday, October 18, Song Doo-hwan, Chairman of the National Human Rights Commission of Korea and Chair of the Asia Pacific Forum of National Human Rights Institutions (APF), issued a statement expressing concern over the recent escalation of the Palestinian-Israeli armed conflict. 


   In the statement, Dr. Song called on all parties to the armed conflict to: protect civilians in accordance with international humanitarian law; protect and respect the human rights and dignity of all persons involved in the conflict; and ensure that the Palestinian Independent Human Rights Commission is able to carry out its mandate safely.


The armed conflict, which began with an attack by the Palestinian militant group Hamas on October 7, has escalated with Israel's declaration of a ground war. As of October 17, the United Nations reported that approximately 3,000 civilians had been killed, and more civilian casualties are feared if the conflict continues. 


In his statement, APF Chairman Song Doo-hwan called on all parties to the armed conflict to uphold the principles of international humanitarian law, in particular the principle of protection of civilians under the Fourth Geneva Convention, stressing that the lives and rights of civilians must be protected under all circumstances and that the massacre of civilians for strategic or retaliatory reasons is a clear violation of international humanitarian law. 


He also emphasized the importance of the role of national human rights institutions in monitoring compliance with international humanitarian law and documenting human rights violations in such situations of armed conflict, and called for ensuring that the APF member organization, the Palestinian Independent Commission for Human Rights (ICHR), is able to operate safely and independently. 


Among other things, APF Chairperson Song expressed his condolences for the deaths of 12 family members of Palestinian ICHR staff, and expressed concern about the risks faced by ICHR staff and their families.


APF will continue to work for an early end to the Palestinian-Israeli armed conflict to prevent further civilian casualties and human rights violations. 

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