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Palestine: ICHR warns of lawlessness in Gaza Strip

Graphic: A view of Jabalia refugee camp, located north of Gaza City

The Independent Commission for Human Rights is gravely concerned by ongoing vigilantism in the Gaza Strip.

The Independent Commission for Human Rights (ICHR) is gravely concerned by the vigilantism in the Gaza Strip and warns that the continuity of such a situation could put the lives of citizens and their property at risk, and lead to chaos and public disorder.

ICHR confirms that the continuation of illegal acts or offences without revealing the identity of the perpetrators or bringing them to justice may lay the foundation for a new stage of vigilantism that would prejudice the fundamental rights enshrined in the law and undermine the level of the basic and necessary services, mainly related to security, that have already been facing a difficult situation in the Gaza Strip.

Based on ICHR's follow-up and monitoring of human rights situation in the southern governorates of the Gaza Strip, between the 1 September 2014 and 27 January 2015, ICHR monitored several violations indicating increased lawlessness in the Gaza Strip.

Among these violations were the bombings that targeted the houses of members of Fatah Movement, the podium of the central festival which was expected to be held in commemoration of the martyrdom of late President Yasser Arafat, the successive bombing of the French Cultural Center, and the last explosions that targeted the ATM machines of the Bank of Palestine in Gaza city and its cameras in the area of Deir Al-Balah.

These violations also included targeting the Martyrs and the Injured' Families Relief Organization and the threat of some banks managers in Gaza city not to pay the salaries of the employees of the Palestinian Authority.

ICHR confirms that the findings of the investigation of these violations have not been revealed yet, despite assurance by the Ministry of Interior in Gaza that it opened investigation into these violations and pursued perpetrators.

Such a situation raises concern and fear of Gaza citizens and pushes them to think of taking the law into their own hands to protect themselves and properties.

ICHR maintains that the obligation of government and its security agencies to ensure security and protection for citizens' rights is permanent and cannot be cancelled or prejudiced for whatsoever considerations or reasons.

Accordingly, ICHR calls upon the Ministry of Interior and the Public Prosecution in the Gaza Strip to promptly investigate these serious violations and bring perpetrators to justice.

It also calls upon them to announce the findings of these investigations and fully exercise their legal and administrative role in a manner that promotes stability, security and civil peace.

Date: 28 January 2015

Source: Independent Commission for Human Rights

Image credits

  1. A view of Jabalia refugee camp, located north of Gaza City - IRIN Photos, Flickr Creative Commons