Geneva, 24 October 2023 (TDI): UN Human Rights Chief Volker Türk urged a comprehensive humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza and Israel, emphasizing the need for increased compliance with international law by all involved parties.

Volker Turk expressed concern about the loss of civilian lives, including children, on both sides of the conflict. Without change, more civilians face the threat of death from ongoing bombardment in the coming days. Prioritizing humanity is crucial.


Volker Turk highlighted the dire humanitarian crisis in Gaza, worsened by 16 years of blockade, leading to a near-catastrophic lack of essentials such as water, power, sanitation, medicine, and food.

The situation is exacerbated by overcrowding, disease spread, damaged hospitals, limited medicines, and severe movement restrictions.

Since October 7, over 5,000 individuals in Gaza, including 2,000 children, lost their lives, primarily due to IDF attacks. Additionally, 1,300 Israeli citizens and residents were killed in Palestinian armed group attacks.

Most casualties were civilians. Gaza faces a dire situation with over 1,400, including 800 children, trapped under rubble, and tens of thousands of homes destroyed.

Türk emphasized that all civilians captured by Palestinian armed groups must be released immediately and unconditionally, as holding hostages violates international law.

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He also condemned Israel’s actions of cutting off civilians from essential goods and services as a form of collective punishment, which is against international law.

Over the weekend, nearly 1,000 Gazans were reportedly killed in intense Israeli raids, some within hospitals, mosques, and schools where many sought shelter.

Türk highlights the need for prompt and effective humanitarian aid, compliance with international law, and protection of civilians. He highlighted the devastating impact on Gaza’s population, urging leaders to make humane choices.

Türk also stressed the obligations of third States to ensure respect for international humanitarian law, emphasizing that violations could lead to liability for war crimes and atrocity crimes.