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UN rights council to consider call for Israel arms embargo

The text condemns "the use of explosive weapons with wide-area effects by Israel" in populated areas and demands Israel "uphold its legal responsibility to prevent genocide"
Pro-Palestinian demonstrators wave Palestinian flags as they call for a ceasefire in Gaza during a protest as part of the “People’s White House Ceasefire Now Iftar” outside the White House in Washington, DC. — AFP
Pro-Palestinian demonstrators wave Palestinian flags as they call for a ceasefire in Gaza during a protest as part of the “People’s White House Ceasefire Now Iftar” outside the White House in Washington, DC. — AFP
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GENEVA: The UN Human Rights Council will consider a draft resolution on Friday calling for an arms embargo on Israel, citing the "plausible risk of genocide in Gaza".


If the draft resolution is adopted, it would mark the first time that the United Nations' top rights body has taken a position on the war raging in Gaza.


The text condemns "the use of explosive weapons with wide-area effects by Israel" in populated areas of Gaza and demands Israel "uphold its legal responsibility to prevent genocide".


The draft resolution was brought forward by Pakistan on behalf of 55 of the 56 UN member states in the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) -- the exception being Albania.


The text is co-sponsored by Bolivia, Cuba and the Palestinian mission in Geneva.


The eight-page draft demands Israel end its occupation of Palestinian territory and immediately lifts its "illegal blockade" on the Gaza Strip.


It calls upon countries to stop the sale or transfer of arms, munitions and other military equipment to Israel, citing "a plausible risk of genocide in Gaza".


The draft also "condemns the use of starvation of civilians as a method of warfare", calls for an immediate ceasefire and "condemns Israeli actions that may amount to ethnic cleansing".


Last week, the UN Security Council in New York passed a resolution calling for a ceasefire -- thanks to an abstention from Washington, Israel's closest ally.


The draft being brought in Geneva calls on states to ensure that UNRWA, the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, receives sufficient funding and demands Israel stop expanding settlements in Palestinian territories.


The resolution condemns the firing of rockets against Israeli civilian areas and demands "the immediate release of all remaining captives and detainees".


The council will discuss whether to adopt the resolution, alongside three other resolutions concerning Israeli settlements, the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, and human rights in the occupied Syrian Golan.


Israel has long accused the Human Rights Council of being biased against it.


The bloodiest-ever Gaza war erupted with October 7 attack, which resulted in about 1,160 deaths in Israel, according to a tally based on Israeli official figures.


Palestinian groups also seized around 250 captives. Israel believes about 130 remain in Gaza, including 34 who are presumed dead.


Israel's retaliatory campaign has killed at least 32,975 people, mostly women and children, according to the health ministry in Gaza. — AFP


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