Amnesty International has lashed out at Israel for committing war crimes against Palestinians, slamming the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) and the international community for failing to protect citizens against violence.
Amnesty’s Secretary General Shalil Shetty made the remarks in a 415-page annual report of the group on Wednesday, focusing on Israeli crimes against Palestinians and on violence against people by armed groups in in the world, especially in Syria, Iraq, and Nigeria.
Pointing to the Tel Aviv regime’s atrocities against Palestinians, Shetty said in the report that the July 2014 Israeli assault on Gaza which claimed more than 2,000 lives – at least 1,500 of them civilians – was “marked by callous indifference and involved war crimes.”
Referring to the ISIL terrorists, Amnesty’s Secretary General Shalil Shetty said in the report that the Takfiri group “has been responsible for war crimes in Syria, [and] has carried out abductions, execution-style killings and ethnic cleansing on a massive scale in northern Iraq.”
In the past four years, the report said, more than 200,000 people have died in Syria – overwhelmingly civilians – and around 4 million Syrian people are now refugees in other countries. Another 7.6 million are displaced inside Syria, the report added.
As for conflicts in other regions, the report also mentioned atrocities by Boko Haram in Nigeria as well as the sectarian violence in the Central African Republic and South Sudan.
The report blamed the international community for paying “lip services to the importance of protecting civilians” and still failing to protect them. “Amnesty International believes that this can and must finally change,” it said.
The group also criticized world governments for “pretending the protection of civilians is beyond their power.”
UN Security Council failure
The report by Amnesty International criticized the UNSC, saying the UN body has “miserably failed” to protect civilians.
The five permanent members of the UNSC “consistently abused” their veto power to “promote their political self-interest or geopolitical interest above the interest of protecting civilians,” it said.
The UNSC is one of the principal organs of the United Nations and according to the UN Charter, its responsibility is to maintain international peace and security
Its five permanent members that are world’s main powers – namely Britain, China, France, Russia and the US – have the “veto” power which can prevent adoption of any resolution.
Amnesty international in the report called on the five states to give up their veto power in cases where genocide and other mass killings are being committed, saying such an action would give the UN a better opportunity to save civilian lives in conflicts.
He further denounced the international community for failing to appropriately respond to the ongoing refugee crisis in the world.
“It is abhorrent to see how wealthy countries’ efforts to keep people out take precedence over their efforts to keep people alive. The global refugee crisis is only likely to get worse, unless urgent measures are taken,” said Shetty in the report.
The report underscored that the refugee crisis has stemmed from the ongoing conflicts in the world and described it a consequence of the international community’s inability to cope with the issue.
“Leaders have it in their power to alleviate the suffering of millions—by committing political and financial resources to assist and protect those fleeing danger, delivering humanitarian aid generously, and resettling the most vulnerable.”
2014 catastrophic year
The annual report also highlighted that the year 2014 was a disastrous year for millions of people caught in violence across the world.
“2014 was a catastrophic year for millions caught up in violence,” Shetty said, adding, “The global response to conflict and abuses by states and armed groups has been shameful and ineffective.”
“As people suffered an escalation in barbarous attacks and repression, the international community has been found wanting,” Shetty said.
“The global outlook on the state of human rights is bleak, but there are solutions. World leaders must take immediate and decisive action to avert an impending global crisis and take us one step closer to a safer world in which rights and freedoms are protected,” said Salil.
The report alarmed that the situation would get worse this year unless world leaders took immediate action.