UNHCR elects new chair of Gaza probe

The United Nations Human Rights Committee (UNHCR) have appointed their new Gaza Probe chairperson on September 20, after the previous chair resigned after only one month in the position.

Argentinian Santiago Canton will lead the ‘Gaza Probe’ which is the official commission of inquiry into possible Israeli war crimes.

The probe was set up in response to the Great March of Return along Gaza’s segregation fence that began March 30.

Canton replaces senior American legal official David Crane, who was appointed to head the probe in July.

However, after only one month into his term, Crane resigned due to, a personal circumstance.

The Times of Israel reported Crane felt compelled to leave after it emerged that he had previously advised the Israeli government.

Canton will preside over the three-member probe, officially titled the Commission of Inquiry on the 2018 protests in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.

The other members are Sara Hossain, a Bangladeshi lawyer educated in the UK, and Kaari Betty Murungi, a lawyer and human rights activist from Kenya.

Canton had previously worked on human rights abuses in Latin America and was the director of RFK Partners for Human Rights at the Robert F. Kennedy Centre for Justice and Human Rights.

The Gaza probe began in May after the UNHCR called for a special session after what they describe as the bloodiest day for Palestinians in years when 60 were killed by Israeli gunfire during the Great March of Return demonstrations along the Gaza-Israel separation fence.

UN Human Rights Council overwhelmingly voted 29-2 calling for an international inquiry into “the disproportionate and indiscriminate use of force by the Israeli occupying forces against Palestinian civilians.”

UN human rights chief Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein told the UNHCR after the inquiry vote was passed, “nobody has been made safer by the horrific events of the past week.”

The Great March of Return began along the Gaza separation fence as a non-violent demonstration calling for the return of Palestinian refugees to their historic homeland.

According to Amnesty International, the demonstrations have led to the deaths of over 180 Palestinians including 29 children, and injured over 18,000.

One Israeli soldier has been killed.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu criticised the probe for being irrelevant.

The organisation that calls itself the Human Rights Council again proved it is a hypocritical and biased body whose purpose is to harm Israel and back terror, he stated, as reported in Haaretz.

The Commission is expected to present its results before March 2019.

Source: Palestine Monitor