Statement of Iceland at the 29th session of the Human Rights Council

Item 7: General Debate


Twenty-ninth session of the Human Rights Council
Geneva, 29 June 2015


Mr. President,

I would like to thank Justice Davis and Dr. Diene for their report. They have our full confidence. Now the parties and the international community have to act on the recommendations.

The whole idea with the progressive development of international humanitarian law in the aftermath of the horrors of World War II was to protect non-combatants and civilian objects while still allowing for enough space to achieve military objectives.  We can not accept the constant disrespect for this important body of laws, not only in the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, but also in other conflicts.  We see the report of the Commission as an important contribution to the overall efforts of upholding the law and to fight impunity.

The reactions to the report differ among the UN membership but no one can stay immune to the despair and immense human suffering of the civilian population in Gaza, where no place was really safe during the conflict.  With 1,462 Palestinian civilians killed, including 551 children, and thousands injured, not to forget the psychological scars – the  scale of the devastation was unprecedented.  Also, in Israel, indiscriminate rocket attacks from  Gaza killed 6 civilians and injured 1620, causing immense distress and disruption. 

Mr. President,

The conflict in Gaza was but a symptom.  It has to be seen in the context of the occupation and the occupation has to end.  There is no other way to stop the suffering of the people on both sides.  This calls for Palestinian reconciliation and for the Israelis and the Palestinians to reach an agreement so the two states can live side by side in peace and security.  This takes courage which was totally absent from the war in Gaza. 

The members of the Commission have said that they hope their report will contibute in some small way to ending the cycle of violence.  We echo that hope. 

Thank you, Mr. President

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