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The Association for Progressive Communications (APC) called on governments to respect human rights and humanitarian law ahead of the UN General Assembly’s 10th emergency special session, “Uniting for Peace” held on Thursday 26 October 2023, and to be continued on Friday 27 October 2023, to discuss the humanitarian crisis in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory, particularly the Gaza Strip.

APC sent letters to 119 governments urging them to uphold the integrity of the UN human rights system amidst the rising alarm of the risk of genocide against the Palestinian people, asking the government delegates to incorporate these principles in their statements at the session.

This call came on the heels of the statement issued by APC condemning violence against Palestinians and demanding protection of human rights for all, alongside APC member 7amleh and other civil society organisations’ statement calling for tech companies to respect Palestinian digital rights in times of crisis.

As the UN General Assembly met to discuss the critical situation, APC issued 11 key calls in its letter to governments, signed by APC Executive Director Concepcion Garcia Ramilo, to protect civilians and address root causes of the violence and conflict:

  1. All States to implement their duty to prevent genocide and protect civilian populations from genocide;

  2. An immediate ceasefire, including but not limited to a cessation of all attacks that target or indiscriminately affect civilians and civilian infrastructure;

  3. Unimpeded access to fuel and humanitarian aid to all areas in Gaza, including medical supplies, and the immediate restoration of access to food, water, electricity and other essential needs, to alleviate the humanitarian crisis;

  4. An end to the 16 year-old illegal siege and closure of the Gaza Strip, which constitutes collective punishment;

  5. The immediate and unconditional release of all persons deprived of liberty without due process, enabling them to return to their families – including through the assistance of neutral intermediaries such as the ICRC, who have been offering their support through traditional channels and publicly on social media;

  6. The protection of human rights defenders, journalists and humanitarian workers;

  7. Investigation and steps towards accountability for war crimes, crimes against humanity and other grave violations and abuses committed by both State and non-State actors;

  8. Concrete steps to address the root causes of violations and abuses and the ongoing Israeli military aggression, including through reaffirming the rights of the Palestinian people to self-determination and return, and calling for an end to, and accountability for, Israeli policies and practices of apartheid and settler colonialism;

  9. An immediate cessation by third States of the provision of military equipment and aid that may foreseeably be used in the commission of war crimes or otherwise contrary to international humanitarian law;

  10. Clear and unequivocal calls by third States for respect for human rights and humanitarian law, denunciation of all war crimes and crimes against humanity without discrimination, and cessation of statements that may be interpreted as supporting the use of force contrary to international law; and

  11. Action by the UN Security Council to implement sanctions and other countermeasures until Israel adheres to its obligations under international law.

You can watch the UN General Assembly’s 10th emergency special session, “Uniting for Peace”: