NHRC-CPT  urges UN to publish its report on Israeli Killing of Journalist in Lebanon

هذه المقالة متاحة أيضًا بـ: العربية (Arabic)

The United Nations Interim Forces in Lebanon (UNIFIL) should release the findings of its investigation into two Israeli strikes on a group of journalists in south Lebanon on October 13, 2023,  NHRC-CPT and 16 NGOs and journalist groups said today in a letter to UN Secretary-General António Guterres, force commander Lieutenant General Aroldo Lázaro Sáenz, the UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon Joanna Wronecka and  Jean-Pierre Lacroix, Under-Secretary-General for Peace Operations. The strikes killed a Reuters journalist, Issam Abdallah, and injured six other media workers.

“The United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon must not remain idly silent regarding a serious violation of international human law and the deliberate bombing and shooting carried out by the Israeli occupation army on more than one occasion against press crews, which led to martyrs and injuries.” said Fadi Gerges, president of NHRC.  “Journalists enjoy protection as civilians under international humanitarian law. Targeted attacks and killing of journalists are war crimes, and the United Nations must make a positive contribution to stopping violations of human rights law and international humanitarian law.”

The letter carried, in addition to the NHRC_CPT’s signature, the letter was signed by Victims Carmen Joukhadar (Reporter, Al-Jazeera – Injured), Christina Assi (Videographer, Agence France Press – Critically Injured), Dylan Collins (Videographer, Agence France Press – Injured), Elie Brakhia (Videographer, Al-Jazeera – Critically Injured).
Local, Regional, and International Organizations and Syndicates and Journalists’ groups: Amnesty International, Arab NGO Network for Development, Committee to Protect Journalists, Euromed Rights, Helem, Human Rights Watch, Lebanese Center for Human Rights, Maharat Foundation, Media Association for Peace (MAP), MENA Rights Group, Reporters Without Borders (RSF), The Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy, The Legal Agenda, Samir Kassir Foundation, Alternative Press Syndicate, Lebanon Syndicate of workers in Audiovisual in Lebanon.

Dear Secretary-General António Guterres,

We, the undersigned victims, survivors, and local and international human rights and civil society organizations, welcome the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) investigation into the October 13, 2023, Israeli attack on a group of journalists doing their job in south Lebanon, which killed Reuters videographer, Issam Abdallah, and wounded six other journalists from Reuters, Agence-France Presse (AFP), and Al Jazeera.

Reuters staff, who saw a copy of the seven-page report dated February 27, 2024, summarizing the investigation, reported that UNIFIL found that an Israeli tank killed Abdallah by firing two 120 mm rounds at a group of “clearly identifiable journalists” in violation of international law. The investigators said that UNIFIL personnel did not record any exchange of fire across the border between Israel and Lebanon for more than 40 minutes before the Israeli Merkava tank opened fire.

The Reuters report suggests that the UNIFIL investigation corroborated the findings of investigations conducted by Reporters Without BordersReutersAFPAmnesty International and Human Rights Watch. It will be an essential tool in seeking truth, accountability and redress for the victims and survivors.

We therefore request that UNIFIL make its full investigation public in accordance with the UN’s commitment to transparency. Since the UN does make findings related to internal investigations public, there is no shortage of precedents. If UNIFIL is currently unable to make the full report public, we ask you to make a public statement explaining why and providing a timeline for when publication will occur. In such instances, a redacted or summarized version of the report should be released in the interim.

The publication of the investigation findings is necessary to support other justice and accountability efforts that the victims’ families want to pursue.

Thank you.

Sincerely,

NHRCLB
NHRCLBhttps://en.nhrclb.org
NHRC-CPT is an independent commission established by Law No. 62 based on the Paris Principles (‘Principles Relating to the Status of National Human Rights Institutions’). It also includes Lebanon’s national preventive mechanism (CPT) In accordance with the provisions of the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT) under Law No. 12 of September 5, 2008.
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