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UN Experts Demand Safe Passage for Freedom Flotilla’s Mission to Gaza

Five UN Special Rapporteurs, on April 26, issued from Geneva, Switzerland a demand: the Freedom Flotilla Coalition’s humanitarian aid mission to Gaza must be unimpeded by Israel. The “two hundred days of siege” by Israel “including an unprecedented starvation campaign against the Palestinian people in Gaza” gets worse by the day. Additionally, “after a 17-year blockade against Gaza, Israel has now created a famine” having cut off food, supply of water, critical goods, while having “destroy[ed] livelihoods.” Citing the 2010 Israeli lethal attack on the Freedom Flotilla, in which 10 people were killed and many others wounded, as the reason for their special “concern for the safety of the participants,” they insist that “the Freedom Flotilla has the right of free passage in international waters.” They call on Israel to “adhere to international law, including recent orders from the International Court of Justice to ensure unimpeded access for humanitarian aid.”

This “civilian peaceful initiative” in which the ships “will be carrying 5,500 tons of humanitarian aid and hundreds of international humanitarian observers, comprises “a diverse coalition of human rights activists, … lawyers, doctors, nurses, journalists, parliamentarians and politicians” and looks to bring life-saving aid to the “besieged people of Gaza.” These UN legal experts insist that, by taking this action, the Coalition is “legitimately challenging Israel’s control over the entry of humanitarian assistance” as “besieging a civilian population is unlawful.”

Since countries “are not complying” with their obligations under the Geneva and Genocide Conventions to “end Israel’s genocide and starvation in Gaza” and some are even supporting Israel with “weapons, funds and political support,” the UN experts argue, “This is why civilians, like the Freedom Flotilla participants” are showing their “solidarity by protecting and fulfilling Palestinian human rights through their direct action.” Crucially, they write, “They express the will of a global movement, especially sustained by youth worldwide, to bring the horrors in Gaza to an end—in the interest of both Palestinians and Israelis.”

The full statement can be read [here]( It is signed by Michael Fakhri, Special Rapporteur on the right to food; Francesca Albanese, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian Territory occupied since 1967; Balakrishnan Rajagopal, Special Rapporteur on the right to adequate housing; Ms. Tlaleng Mofokeng, Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health; and Paula Gaviria Betancur, Special Rapporteur on the human rights of internally displaced persons.