UN Human Rights Commissioner urges global action amidst escalating conflicts worldwide

World Wednesday 19/June/2024 06:30 AM
UN Human Rights Commissioner urges global action amidst escalating conflicts worldwide

Geneva: United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Turk, in a stark address at the 56th session of the Human Rights Council, issued a call for immediate international intervention to quell escalating conflicts worldwide.

Commissioner Turk began his speech lamenting the brutality of armed conflicts, emphasising the consequences faced by civilians.

He highlighted a staggering 72 per cent increase in civilian deaths due to armed conflicts in 2023, with alarming spikes in fatalities among women and children.

Among the most harrowing situations, Turk condemned the ongoing conflict in Gaza, where he reported over 120,000 casualties since Israeli offensives began.

He urged Israel to cease airstrikes immediately and called for the release of Palestinians arbitrarily detained. Turk also expressed grave concerns about the deteriorating situation in the West Bank and called for respect for international humanitarian law.

"The situation in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, is dramatically deteriorating. As of 15 June, 528 Palestinians, 133 of them children, had been killed by Israeli security forces and/or settlers since October, in many cases raising serious concerns of unlawful killings. In the same period, 23 Israelis have been killed in the West Bank and Israel in clashes with or attacks by Palestinians, including 8 members of Israeli security forces", a press statement by the UN said.

Turning to the crisis in Ukraine, Turk described the devastating impact of Russian ground offensives, which have resulted in widespread destruction of communities and infrastructure.

He warned of an imminent humanitarian catastrophe as attacks on energy infrastructure jeopardise essential services ahead of winter.

The Commissioner did not shy away from addressing the internal conflicts within countries such as Sudan, Lebanon, and South Sudan, where inter-ethnic violence and political instability have exacerbated humanitarian crises.

He urged for immediate international mediation efforts to halt these conflicts and protect civilian populations.

Turk also condemned systemic human rights abuses in countries like Syria, Haiti, Myanmar, and Afghanistan, where women and girls continue to face severe persecution and violence.

In addition to the humanitarian crises exacerbated by armed conflicts, Turk underscored the detrimental impact of climate change on vulnerable populations, exacerbating food insecurity and displacement in regions like southern Africa.

The Commissioner called upon the international community to prioritise humanitarian funding and support, citing a significant gap between funding requirements and available resources.

In closing, Turk urged global leaders to uphold the principles of the UN Charter and international law, emphasising the critical role of human rights in preventing conflicts and promoting sustainable peace.

The 56th session of the Human Rights Council is expected to continue deliberating on these pressing global issues over the coming weeks, with a focus on fostering international cooperation and accountability.