Human Rights Watch (HRW) has called upon the United States to use its influential position on the UN Security Council to advocate for the protection of civilians in the ongoing conflict between Israel and Palestinian armed groups in Gaza.
This appeal comes amidst a backdrop of escalating tensions and mounting civilian casualties in the region.
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HRW's statement emphasized the United States' role in urging Israel to safeguard civilian lives, suggesting that similar efforts should be extended to support UN initiatives.
The proposed resolution demands an end to violations of the laws of war by both Israel and Palestinian armed groups, violations that have tragically resulted in thousands of civilian deaths. Furthermore, the resolution calls for accountability for those responsible for war crimes.
“It [the US] says it has urged Israel to protect civilians, so it should support UN efforts to do the same," the statement read. "It should back the urgent adoption and implementation of a Security Council resolution that demands Israel and Palestinian armed groups end their laws-of-war violations that have cost thousands of civilian lives," it addedCriticism was also directed at the United States for what HRW perceives as a "double standard" in its commitment to the laws of war.
The statement highlighted the crucial responsibility of permanent Security Council members in preventing vetoes on resolutions designed to halt mass atrocities. This appeal by HRW followed a notable event at the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday.
The Assembly voted in favor of an immediate humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza, a move that stood in stark contrast to the United States' decision to vote "no" and block a similar resolution in the Security Council the previous week.
Although the General Assembly's vote carries political significance and moral weight, it lacks the binding power of a Security Council resolution. The blocked resolution at the Security Council called for not only an immediate humanitarian ceasefire but also the unconditional release of all hostages and assurance of humanitarian access. It garnered support from thirteen countries, faced a veto from the United States, and saw the UK abstain from voting.