UNITED NATIONS - The United Nations human rights chief has voiced her “very serious concerns” about the recent killing of two Palestinian teenagers in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.
Navi Pillay has written to the Israeli Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva concerning the May 15 incident, her spokesperson Cecile Pouilly told reporters in the Swiss city.
Israeli security forces reportedly shot and killed the two Palestinian minors – aged 16 and 17 – taking part in a demonstration in Beituniya commemorating the 66th anniversary of what Palestinians call “Nakba day.” The initial findings of a team on the ground from the OHCHR indicate that the teenagers presented no direct threat at the time that they were killed, a press release said. “The killings may amount to extrajudicial executions under human rights law as well as wilful killings under international humanitarian law,” according to Ms. Pouilly.
She stated that while OHCHR welcomes reports that an investigation into the incident has been opened, it called for the probe to be “prompt, thorough, effective, independent, impartial and transparent.”
“We also urge Israel to make public the findings of this investigation and any steps regarding accountability that are taken.” OHCHR noted that the killing comes amid a series of incidents involving the excessive use of force by Israeli security forces in the West Bank, as reported in the High Commissioner’s last report to the Human Rights Council. “Our Office has repeatedly raised its concerns about the excessive use of force by Israeli security forces and the lack of accountability for such incidents,” Ms. Pouilly said, adding that any use of force by the Israelis must be in accordance with the Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms.