Gaza: New letter to Miliband urges UK to fully support Goldstone report at United Nations

Report is ‘last best chance for justice’ - Tim Hancock

In a new letter to the Foreign Secretary David Miliband, Amnesty International has urged him to ensure that the UK fully supports the recommendations of the Goldstone report into human rights abuses committed during the Gaza conflict at the beginning of the year.

Last week Justice Richard Goldstone’s 574-report on behalf of the United Nations-mandated fact-finding mission into the conduct of all parties to the conflict found evidence indicating that both Israeli forces and Palestinian armed groups committed war crimes during the 22 days of fighting. These finding are consistent with Amnesty International’s own earlier findings.

The Goldstone report, which is stressing the need for proper investigations by both sides into these alleged abuses, is due to be formally presented to the 47-country-strong UN Human Rights Council next week (29 September).

Amnesty International Campaigns Director Tim Hancock said:

“The UK delegation at the United Nations should make it clear that Richard Goldstone’s report has the full support of the UK government.

“For months we have had blanket denials or totally unsatisfactory internal investigations from both sides of the Gaza conflict. As a result the ordinary people of Gaza and southern Israel have been left completely short-changed.

“The Goldstone report is their last best chance for justice.”

Amnesty’s letter to Mr Miliband urges the UK government to support efforts to have the report endorsed by the United Nations Human Rights Council and that, similarly, the UK supports moves that would see the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon submit the report to the UN Security Council.

The letter notes that the Goldstone report believes the UN Security Council should give the authorities in Israel and in Gaza six months to comply with the report’s requirement that proper investigations are initiated, otherwise recommending that the matter be referred to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court. In this eventuality, Amnesty would fully support such a referral and urges the UK government - a strong backer of the ICC - to do the same.

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