UN chief calls for international investigation on Gaza mass graves

UN chief calls for international investigation on Gaza mass graves
New York - United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres stressed on Tuesday the need to allow independent international investigators immediate access to mass grave sites in the Gaza Strip.اضافة اعلان

"The health system in Gaza has been decimated by the war. Two-thirds of hospitals and health centers are out of action; many of those that remain are seriously damaged," Guterres said in statements at the UN headquarters in New York.

"Some hospitals now resemble cemeteries," Guterres added.

"I am deeply alarmed by reports that mass graves have been discovered in several locations in Gaza, including Al Shifa Medical Complex and Nasser Medical Complex. In Nasser alone, over 390 bodies have reportedly been exhumed," Guterres pointed out.

"It is imperative that independent international investigators, with forensic expertise, are allowed immediate access to the sites of these mass graves, to establish the precise circumstances under which hundreds of Palestinians lost their lives and were buried, or reburied," Guterres underlined.

"Hospitals, health workers, patients, and all civilians must be protected, and the human rights of all must be respected," Guterres emphasized.

Guterres said a military assault on Rafah would be an unbearable escalation, killing thousands more civilians and forcing hundreds of thousands to flee. It would have a devastating impact on Palestinians in Gaza, with serious repercussions on the occupied West Bank, and across the wider region.

On UNRWA, Guterres said, "We recognize the irreplaceable and indispensable work of UNRWA to support millions of people in Gaza, the occupied West Bank including East Jerusalem, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon," adding that the Agency continues to face a funding gap and calling on Member States, both traditional and new donors, to pledge funds generously to ensure the continuity of the agency's operations.

"UNRWA’s presence across the region is a source of hope and stability. Its education, healthcare and other services provide a sense of normality, safety and stability to desperate communities," he said.

"This is the moment to reaffirm our hope for, and contributions to, a two-state solution -- the only sustainable path to peace and security for Israelis, Palestinians, and the wider region," Guterres underscored.

"The United Nations is totally committed to supporting a pathway to peace, based on an end to the occupation and the establishment of a fully independent, democratic, viable, contiguous, and sovereign Palestinian State, with Gaza as an integral part," Guterres concluded.

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