PCHR Submits Memorandum to the Special Rapporteur on theHuman Rights of Internally Displaced Persons

Gaza Strip, Israel / OPT, Press Release

On Monday 24 September the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) has made a written submission, in the form of a Memorandum, to the Special Rapporteur on the human rights of internally displaced persons, which draws attention to issue of the internal displacement of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip as a result of Israeli actions.

The forced displacement of Palestinians, which results in internal displacement throughout the West Bank and Gaza Strip, has been carried out by Israel since the beginning of its occupation of the occupied Palestinian territory in 1967. From the end of ‘Operation Cast Lead’ until June 2012, 153 persons have been displaced from the ‘buffer zone’ of the Gaza Strip as a result of 351 attacks by Israel on civilian homes. This includes the displacement of 24 families and 83 children.

In the Gaza Strip forced internal displacement can be caused by tank shelling, air strikes, bulldozing and shooting by Israel’s forces. From ‘Operation Cast Lead’ until the end of June 2012, Israel carried out 346 aerial bombings and 12 bulldozing incidents that resulted in the internal displacement of Gazan civilians. In addition to the damage and destruction of homes, the tank shelling and shooting incites fear in the population. From ‘Operation Cast Lead’ until the end of June 2012, Israel carried out 142 tank shellings and 255 shooting incidents in the ‘buffer zone’ of the Gaza Strip.

As per Articles 49(1), 53 and 147 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, attacks against civilians and civilian property leading to the large scale transfer of civilians is illegal. Furthermore, under Article 8(2)(a)(vii) of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, the unlawful transfer of persons protected under the provisions of the relevant Geneva Convention constitutes a war crime, and the forcible transfer of a civilian population constitutes a crime against humanity under Article 7(2)(d) of the Rome Statute.

The Memorandum also outlines how internally displaced persons in the Gaza Strip often suffer from additional human rights violations, such as the denial of the right of access to livelihood, the right to an adequate standard of living, and the right to health.

PCHR will be submitting either Memorandums or Individual Complaints bi-weekly to UN Working Groups and Special Rapporteurs, to draw attention to issues facing the Palestinian people.

Supplementary documents:

Memorandum: The Internal Displacement of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip (pdf)

Briefing Note: The Internal Displacement of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip (pdf)

Fact Sheet: Gaza Strip: Attacks and their Consequences (pdf)