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UN Human Rights Council convenes in Geneva


UN Human Rights Council convenes in Geneva

Photo: Reuters

The 55th Session of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) begins today in Geneva.

At the session, the UNHRC will consider human rights issues in 50 different countries, including Myanmar, Syria, and Ukraine.

The crisis in Palestine is one of the key priorities on the agenda. In a recent statement, independent human rights experts warned that any transfer of weapons or ammunition to Israel that would be used in Gaza is likely to violate international law. Within the context of the International Court of Justice’s ruling in January that there is plausible risk of genocide in Gaza, Joseph Borrell, the EU’s foreign policy chief, discouraged the provision of arms to Israel. A number of states including the Netherlands have suspended the transfer of weapons and other equipment to Israel.

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Expect the UNHRC to urge other states to halt arms transfers to Israel. In the case of an Israeli ground invasion of Rafah, the UK may restrict arms exports to Jerusalem in a move that could encourage other European arms suppliers to follow suit. The call for an arms embargo will do little to sway the US, even in the case of a ground invasion, largely due to domestic pressures ahead of the 2024 presidential election and the political risks associated with alienating Israel.

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