The people of Gaza continue to be forcibly displaced. Since the military offensive on Rafah started 6 May, over 630,000 people have been forced to flee the area. © UNRWA - Photo: 2024

NGOs Urge Security Council to Enforce UN Court Orders on Israeli Actions in Rafah

By Rodney Reynolds

UNITED NATIONS | 28 May 2024 (IDN) — A coalition of 19 non-governmental organizations* (NGOs), including Oxfam, the Norwegian Refugee Council, Action Aid and CARE, has called on all five permanent and 10 elected members of the UN Security Council to enforce the International Court of Justice’s (ICJ) orders regarding Israel’s actions in Rafah, Gaza.

“Immediate action is required to uphold international law and ensure the Government of Israel meets its obligations as mandated by the ICJ.”

The appeal came just ahead of Israel’s military attack on Rafah over the weekend which killed over 40, mostly civilian Palestinians.

The ICJ has determined that Israel’s military operations in Rafah have created a catastrophic humanitarian situation, in line with the repeated predictions and warnings of the humanitarian community in the buildup to the offensive.

“The Court has ordered an immediate halt to military operations in Rafah, the opening of the Rafah border crossing for unhindered humanitarian relief, and access for UN fact finding bodies to investigate potential violations of the Genocide Convention,” the NGOs said.

Unprecedented suffering

Since the hostilities began, Gaza has faced unprecedented destruction and suffering:

  • Over 35,800 Palestinians have been killed and 80,200 injured since 7 October 2023, according to the Ministry of Health in Gaza.
  • More than 800,000 people have been displaced from Rafah since 6 May 2024, with thousands living among rubble without essential services.
  • Food distributions in Rafah have been suspended due to severe supply shortages and insecurity, worsening the humanitarian crisis.

Despite the ICJ’s order for Israel to halt military operations, the bloodshed has continued, with recent attacks on a displacement camp near UN aid facilities in Rafah reportedly killing dozens of people, including children, and injuring many more.

“Failure to comply with these orders may prompt South Africa to address the issue to the Security Council, which has the authority under the UN Charter to enforce the ICJ’s binding decision.”

“We call on the UN Security Council to take decisive action to ensure the ICJ’s orders are implemented, allowing humanitarian aid to reach those in need and enabling thorough investigations into violations of international law. The Security Council must act now to uphold justice, protect human rights, and maintain international peace and security. Failure to do so would further compromise the conditions to sustain human life in Gaza and would undermine global trust in the primacy of international law”.

*The coalition of NGOs include:

ActionAid, Action Corps. Avaaz, Care, DanChurchAid, Danish Refugee Council, Democratic Socialists of America, Humanity & Inclusion – Handicap International (HI), Médecins du Monde France, Spain and Switzerland, Medical Aid for Palestinians, Mennonite Central Committee, Middle East Children’s Alliance, Norwegian Church Aid, Norwegian People’s Aid, Norwegian Refugee Council, Oxfam, Plan International, Première Urgence Internationale, War Child Alliance. [IDN-InDepthNews]

Photo: The people of Gaza continue to be forcibly displaced. Since the military offensive on Rafah started 6 May, over 630,000 people have been forced to flee the area. Credit: UNRWA

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