More than 1,000 lawyers call for Gaza ceasefire

More than 1,000 lawyers call for Gaza ceasefire

More than 1,070 members of the legal profession have called on the UK government to press for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza and the West Bank and to take urgent steps to ensure the UK government does not violate international humanitarian law or aid or assist its violation by others.

The letter, originally sent to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Defence Secretary Grant Shapps on 26 October has also been sent to all MSPs in Scotland.

The lawyers urge the government to call for an immediate ceasefire, the urgent provision of humanitarian assistance to Gaza, the return of hostages in Gaza, the immediate halt of weapons exports to Israel, and to work towards a just, lasting and sustainable peaceful settlement for all those in the region.

Brian Fee KC, former chairman of the General Council of the Bar of Northern Ireland, said: “The suffering being inflicted on civilians in Gaza is simply unconscionable, unjustifiable and illegal. Thousands of innocent victims cannot be regarded as some sort of legitimate collateral damage. It is incumbent on Western Governments including Britain to call for an immediate ceasefire.”

Phil Scraton, professor emeritus, School of Law, Queen’s University, Belfast, said: “Clear evidence from Gaza demonstrates a systemic, reckless breach of the Geneva Conventions. It is for democratic states to withdraw semblance of support for Israel’s genocidal invasion, insisting its government ceases military action, abides by the precepts of international humanitarian law and seeks a resolution committed to negotiation and the rebuilding of Gaza.”

Blinne Ní Ghrálaigh KC commented: “The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights has made clear that “the collective punishment by Israel of Palestinian civilians amounts also to a war crime, as does the unlawful forcible evacuation of civilians” by Israel in Gaza. The British Government is duty bound not to support such serious violations of international law and to do everything in its power to bring them to an end.”

Nicole Busby, professor of human rights, equality and justice, at the University of Glasgow added: “UN Special Rapporteurs warn there is a ‘grave risk of genocide’ of Palestinians. Indiscriminate killings and forcibly relocating civilians are clear breaches of international humanitarian law. Time is running out and the Scottish Parliament must demonstrate its commitment to human rights by voting for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza to prevent further loss of lives in the region.”

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