Human rights situation in occupied Palestinian areas has deteriorated UN expert

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The Special Rapporteur on Adequate Housing for the UN High Commission on Human Rights, Miloon Kothari, said human rights in the occupied Palestinian territories (OPT) had “deteriorated significantly over the past three years, in spite of the international community’s condemnation of Israel’s illegal collective punishment against the Palestinian people.””The Special Rapporteur urges the international community to act decisively to protect Palestinians by taking urgent steps to remove the impunity that Israel enjoys,” he said.From 10 to 12 October, Israeli forces demolished about 100 building complexes, housing over 1,000 people, in Yibna camp in the southern Gaza town of Rafah, he said. “According to information received, residents were, in most instances, not given enough time to remove their belongings,” he added.”Israeli authorities reportedly justified the demolitions of houses in the Yibna Camp as part of an operation to unveil three tunnels allegedly used by Palestinian armed groups to smuggle weapons from Egypt into the Gaza Strip,” Mr. Kothari said. “However, this cannot justify actions against innocent civilians.”The UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) said the Yibna action was the largest demolition of houses in Gaza in three years.”According to information received, the Israeli army has destroyed an estimated 4,000 homes over the past three years, leaving thousands of people homeless, many of whom are women, children and elderly persons,” Mr. Kothari said.The Special Rapporteur “once again strongly condemns this escalation of violations against the Palestinian people and calls for immediate cessation of similar actions, especially in the Gaza Strip, by Israel.”

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