Iran’s envoy to the United Nations deplored the inaction of the UN Security Council in dealing with the violation of rules for the protection of civilians or civilian buildings, denouncing the decades-long systematic inhumane practices of the Israeli regime in Palestine as “a living example”.
In remarks in a recent UN Security Council meeting on “Protection of civilians in armed conflict: indispensable civilian objects,” Majid Takht-Ravanchi said the prohibition of the use of force is a fundamental principle and a peremptory norm of international law, while armed conflicts are still a reality of the contemporary era, Tasnim News Agency reported.
“However, according to International Humanitarian Law, which governs the conduct of states in armed conflicts, there are certain rules that must be observed by parties to conflicts,” he said.
“The most prominent principles upon which IHL is founded are ‘the principles of humanity’ and ‘the dictates of public conscience’.”
The Iranian envoy stressed that as also authoritatively pronounced by the International Court of Justice, the overriding consideration of humanity is at the heart of the principles and rules of law applicable in armed conflict.
“According to this principle, inflicting ‘unnecessary suffering’ even to ‘combatants’ is prohibited, let alone causing any suffering to civilians, the protection of whom is the prime objective of many international legally binding instruments constituting the IHL,” he added.
Takht-Ravanchi said, “Distinction is another IHL principle, according to which parties to the conflict shall distinguish between the civilian population and combatants, and between civilian objects and military objectives.
Lack of Compliance
The Iranian diplomat stressed that starvation of civilians as a method of warfare or attacking or rendering useless objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population must be avoided.
“These explicit norms indicate that our challenge today is not the lack of adequate binding rules for the protection of civilians or civilian objects, rather it is the lack of compliance with such norms, and more importantly, the inaction of the Security Council when they are breached materially and even systematically,” he said.
“A living example is the decades-long systematic inhumane and unlawful practices of the Israeli regime in the occupied territories that cover a range of brutalities such as deliberate systematic and massive ethnic cleansing; demolition of homes and confiscation of lands and properties of the Palestinians; the unlawful blockade of the Gaza Strip; and killing of civilians, including women and innocent children, all of which are clear manifestations of war crimes.”
The ambassador deplored the brutalities of Saudi Arabia in its six years of aggression in Yemen, in which thousands of civilians, including women and children, have been killed; homes, mosques, hospitals, schools, marketplaces, diplomatic missions and even wedding and funeral ceremonies have been indiscriminately attacked; and starvation of civilians is used as a method of warfare, causing the world’s worst contemporary humanitarian crisis.
“In both cases, objects indispensable to the survival of civilians such as foodstuff, drinking water installations and hospitals, have been the subject of systematic armed attacks or deliberate disruption, and civilian places such as ports and airports have been the subject of strict unlawful blockades.”
Takht-Ravanchi also said another case is the imposition of inhumane unilateral sanctions against Syria, which prevents the import of humanitarian goods, including food and medicine, causing serious harm to the health and lives of people.
“Practically, their adverse effects are equivalent to starvation and must therefore stop immediately,” he concluded.
Source: This news first appeared in The Financial Tribune.