Peace must be found after Gaza “havoc”, says UN expert

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An estimated 400,000 children need psychological support in Gaza, the Human Rights Council heard. UNICEF/Alessio Romenzi

Israelis, Palestinians and the international community have a responsibility to end the mutual hostility that risks flaring up again and again, a top UN investigator said Monday.

Makarim Wibisono, Special Rapporteur on human rights in the occupied Palestinian territories, addressed the UN Human Rights Council seven months after violence ended between Israel and Palestinian armed groups that "wreaked unprecedented havoc" in Gaza.

The human rights expert highlighted the number of child victims in the conflict, saying that hundreds had paid "the ultimate price".

Daniel Johnson has more:

The UN investigator said that the "ferocity of destruction" in Gaza and high number of civilian deaths "cast serious doubts" over Israel's respect of international humanitarian law.

By the end of the 51-day conflict in Gaza last year, Makarim Wibisono reported that hospitals, ambulances, schools and private homes had come under attack.

With the Israeli delegation absent from the chamber, the Special Rapporteur said it would be "shameful to dismiss the innocent lives of women, men and children" as collateral damage.

He also told the Human Rights Council about a seven-year-old Palestinian boy, Bader, who died from shrapnel wounds to the stomach.

"Witness accounts submitted to me described this little boy in the street…trying to hold his open wound with his hands, crying and begging to be taken to safety, begging for help."

Israel had also seen victims from the fighting including a four-year-old boy called Daniel, the human rights expert said.

He added that 400,000 children in Gaza now needed psychological support as a result of the conflict while there was only a "trickle" of international aid pledged to rebuild Gaza.

Daniel Johnson, United Nations

Duration: 1'02"

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