Sunday, May 19, 2024

UN chief calls for independent investigation into Gaza mass graves

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres stated he is “deeply alarmed” by reports of mass graves in several locations in the Gaza Strip, calling for independent probe into the matter.

“There are competing narratives around several of these mass graves, including serious allegations that some of those buried were unlawfully killed,” he said.

“It is imperative that independent international investigators, with forensic expertise, are allowed immediate access to the sites of these mass graves, to establish the precise circumstances under which hundreds of Palestinians lost their lives and were buried, or reburied,” he continued.

“The families of the dead and missing have a right to know what happened. And the world has a right to accountability for any violations of international law that may have taken place.”

Officials in Gaza have stated a total of 400 bodies, including those of children and women, with signs of torture and executions, have so far been found at makeshift burial sites at two hospitals that were earlier raided by the Israeli military.

Last week, the secretary-general’s spokesperson stated that a mandate from a United Nations body would be required for the organisation to take legal possession of any evidence collected during the discovery of the mass graves, in order for the UN to carry out its own investigation.

More than 34,500 people have been killed in Israel’s war on Gaza since October 7, according to Palestinian authorities.

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