UN says totally against forced displacement of Palestinians in Gaza

The United Nations is "completely" against forced displacement of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, stressed a UN spokesperson on Wednesday.

“As a principle, we are completely against forced displacement. So that needs to be made very, very clear. The aim really should be for Palestinians to be safe in Gaza, for the civilians to be safe in Gaza,” Florencia Soto Nino, associate spokesperson for Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, told reporters.

Her remarks came after Israeli officials called for the “voluntary evacuation” of Palestinians from Gaza and urged various countries to take in Palestinians from the enclave.

“We’ve been very clear that we’re not advocating, that no one should be advocating for mass displacement of Palestinians out of Gaza, and that they should be safe in their homes,” Nino said.

Every person has the right to be protected from forced displacement from their home or residence, she continued, adding that so far 85% of Gaza’s population has been internally displaced and living in “pretty dire conditions”.

“They have the right to return to their homes.”

Israel has launched relentless air and ground attacks on the Gaza Strip since a cross-border raid by the Palestinian group Hamas on Oct. 7.

At least 22,313 Palestinians have since been killed and 57,296 others injured, according to Gaza’s health authorities, while nearly 1,200 Israelis are believed to have been killed in the Hamas attack.

The forcible transfer of people in Gaza is an “act of genocide”, a UN special rapporteur said on Wednesday, warning other states to not be part of such a move.

“Forcible transfer of Gazan population is an act of genocide especially given the high number of children,” Balakrishnan Rajagopal, the special rapporteur on the right to adequate housing, wrote on X.

“Congolese or other states’ officials will be guilty of aiding and abetting genocide if they agree to any transfer of population,” he warned.

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