UN rights chief criticizes Israeli attack on mourners during Abu Akleh’s funeral

UN rights chief criticizes Israeli attack on mourners during Abu Akleh’s funeral

The United Nations’ High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, in a statement criticized the Israeli police attack against mourners during the funeral of slain Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh on Friday.

“I am following with deep distress events in the occupied West Bank, including in East Jerusalem. Footage of Israeli police attacking mourners at the funeral procession of journalist Shireen Abu Akleh in East Jerusalem on Friday 13 May was shocking. Reports indicate that at least 33 people were injured,” she said.

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Israeli forces stormed a Jerusalem hospital grounds Friday as the coffin containing the body of a Abu Akleh emerged ahead of burial, with police saying they acted against people “disrupting the public order,” AFP reported.

Israeli forces attack Palestinian mourners as they carry the coffin of Palestinian-American Shireen Abu Akleh in Jerusalem, May 13, 2022. (Reuters)

TV images showed the Al Jazeera reporter’s coffin nearly falling to the ground as police grabbed Palestinian flags from the crowd around the procession outside Saint Joseph’s hospital in Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem.

Bachelet deemed the Israeli police’s use of force at the time unnecessary and called for a transparent and prompt investigation into the matter.

“The Israeli use of force, which was being filmed and broadcast live, appeared to be unnecessary and must be promptly and transparently investigated,” the UN rights chief said.

“There must be accountability for the terrible killing not just of Shireen Abu Akleh but for all the killings and serious injuries in the occupied Palestinian territory,” she adding, highlighting that international law required a “prompt, transparent, independent, and impartial investigation” into the use of force that results in injury or death.

The body of slain veteran Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh arrives at a hospital in the east Jerusalem neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah, on May 12, 2022. (AFP)

The body of slain veteran Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh arrives at a hospital in the east Jerusalem neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah, on May 12, 2022. (AFP)

“As I have called for many times before, there must be appropriate investigations into the actions of Israeli security forces. Anyone found responsible should be held to account with penal and disciplinary sanctions commensurate to the gravity of the violation,” said Bachelet.

“This culture of impunity must end now.”

Since the beginning of 2022, around 48 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli security forces, she explained, and commemorated the death of Walid al-Sharif, a young Palestinian man who succumbed to the serious injuries he sustained at the Al Aqsa Mosque Compound at the hands of Israeli forces.

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