(Washington D.C.) - A global coalition of civil society organizations from every corner of the world, ranging from Human Rights Now in Japan to the South African Council of Churches, have urged members of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) to support the recommendations of the Goldstone Report and work to adopt a resolution which will ensure accountability for victims of the Gaza conflict earlier this year.
In the letter from the groups, which include Physicians for Human Rights in Israel, the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights in Gaza, Open Society Institute, and the Centro de Estudios Legales y Sociales in Argentina, the NGOs urge the adoption of a resolution by the 64th UNGA which calls upon the Israeli Government and relevant Palestinian authorities to launch "credible, independent investigations of the findings of the Goldstone Report...[that] will promote accountability among all parties to the conflict and put an end to the culture of impunity."
During the 12th Session of the Human Rights Council, Justice Richard Goldstone presented a report of the United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict that found evidence of serious violations of human rights and humanitarian law committed by both Israeli forces and Hamas fighters. Goldstone concluded that State parties should start criminal investigations where there is evidence of grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions of 1949. The letter specifically asks the United Nations to ensure an independent international mechanism is established to assess investigations by Israeli and Palestinian authorities.
The letter urges the international community to demonstrate its unequivocal support for human rights and the protection of Israeli and Palestinian civilians. "The international community must demonstrate resolve on the issue of accountability on both sides of this conflict and ensure that international law is upheld. It is this approach which will strengthen the chances of peace and justice for Israelis and Palestinians," the letter states.
Among the 40 current signatories of the letter are the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel, Human Rights Watch, Democracy Coalition Project, Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union, Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies, Fédération Internationale des Ligues des Droits de l'Homme, International Center for Transitional Justice, and the International Commission of Jurists.