Tue 23 Apr 2024 8:32 am - Jerusalem Time

Blinken: We made clear to Israel that it must adhere to the standards of international law

The US State Department issued the 2023 Annual Human Rights Report, which tracks and documents the situation in nearly 200 countries and territories around the world.

US Secretary of State, Anthony Blinken, who came to the press hall to release the report, noted in his press conference, “The conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza continues to raise deep concerns about human rights.”

He referred to what he described as “the brutal terrorist attacks launched by Hamas on October 7, which resulted in the deaths of approximately 1,200 people and the taking of approximately 230 hostages, and included horrific violations including sexual violence.”

Blinken stressed that while Israel exercises its right to self-defense, the United States has made clear to the Israeli government that it must conduct military operations in accordance with international law and take all possible precautions to protect civilians.

“We continue to urgently raise concerns about the killing and injury of tens of thousands of Palestinian civilians in Gaza, including women, children, people with disabilities, and other vulnerable people,” Blinken said. “We have repeatedly expressed our concern about the access of Palestinian civilians to humanitarian assistance and the displacement of the majority of Gaza’s population and the unprecedented number of journalists killed."

He added: "We have repeatedly condemned Hamas' abhorrent misuse of civilians and civilian infrastructure as human shields, and its continued refusal to release all hostages. We also continue to condemn record levels of violence in the West Bank, including attacks by violent extremist settlers against Palestinian civilians."

The report notes that it used criteria that included important human rights issues and relied on reliable reports of: arbitrary or unlawful killings, including extrajudicial killings; Enforced disappearance; Torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment by government officials; Harsh and life-threatening prison conditions; Arbitrary arrest or detention; Political prisoners or detainees; Abusive or unlawful interference with privacy; Punishing family members for alleged crimes committed by a relative; Serious violations in the conflict by Hamas and Israel, including deaths, unlawful or widespread abuse of civilians, enforced disappearances or abductions, torture, physical abuse, and conflict-related sexual violence or punishment; Imposing serious restrictions on freedom of expression and media freedom, including violence or threats against journalists, unjustified arrests or prosecution of journalists, and censorship; Significant interference with freedom of peaceful assembly and freedom of association; Restrictions on freedom of movement and residence; Serious government restrictions on or harassment of domestic and international human rights organizations; and crimes involving violence or threats of violence targeting members of national, racial or ethnic minorities.


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Blinken: We made clear to Israel that it must adhere to the standards of international law