Rafah, 10 November 2023 (TDI): In the ongoing Israel-Palestine crisis, the UN human rights chief, Volker Türk, has consistently emphasized the urgent need for a humanitarian ceasefire.

He expressed deep concern about the situation in Gaza, including the scarcity of water, pervasive fear, and the distressing conditions faced by the residents.

Türk called for the release of hostages, a sustainable resolution, and accountability for serious violations in accordance with international humanitarian law.

The UN relief agency for Palestine refugees, UNRWA, reported the loss of over 100 staff members since the onset of Israeli bombardment.

Türk highlighted the imperative to halt violence, ensure the safety of humanitarian workers, and provide secure access for delivering assistance.

He also called for justice, accountability, and remedies for victims of crimes, addressing both Israeli bombardments and Hamas attacks in southern Israel.

During his visit to the Middle East, Türk witnessed the aftermath of bombings in Gaza, emphasizing the dire conditions and the need to end all forms of collective punishment.

He criticized Israel’s extensive bombardment, called for an immediate cessation of high-impact explosive weapons in densely populated areas, and raised concerns about the safety of civilians.

In response to the United States’ announcement of Israel agreeing to daily four-hour humanitarian pauses in northern Gaza, UN spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric emphasized the need for coordination with the UN and agreement from all sides.

Philippe Lazzarini, head of UNRWA, expressed grief over the loss of lives and called for a humanitarian ceasefire, emphasizing the urgency of ending the tragedy.

Türk condemned the intense strikes on hospitals in Gaza City, highlighting the special protection afforded to medical units by international humanitarian law.

He expressed distress over the loss of UNRWA colleagues’ lives and the killing of displaced people seeking shelter in UNRWA-run schools.

Turning to the West Bank, Türk called on Israeli authorities to protect Palestinians and urged the implementation of human rights recommendations.

Despite not being granted access to Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory during his visit, Türk communicated with human rights defenders from both sides.

Also read: UNRWA provides a situation report on Gaza

He urged the international community to fulfill its obligations in ensuring respect for international humanitarian law and called for universal standards to be applied globally.

Türk specifically called on Member States with influence to intensify efforts to bring the parties involved in the Israel-Palestine crisis to a ceasefire without further delay.