Golriz Ghahraman condemns NZ Govt, says international humanitarian laws have been breached in Gaza

17 May
Green MP Golriz Ghahraman addressing the Auckland rally for Palestine on Saturday.

Jan Nixon, 1 NEWS, 16 May 2021

The foreign spokesperson for the Green Party says she believes NZ has an ‘obligation’ to help uphold international law. Source: 1 NEWS

It comes amid a severe attack overnight on a Gaza building which was home to media organisations, including The Associated Press and Al Jazeera.

As the conflict reaches its sixth day, at least 145 Palestinian civilians have been killed, and about 10 Israeli residents.

Ghahraman told 1 NEWS the New Zealand Government should have responded days ago.

“I’ve been disappointed at the New Zealand Government response over the six days. I think we should have responded strongly at the very start of what was very violent systemic attacks on the Palestinian population in East Jerusalem, that was backed by the Israel government.

Israeli airstrike destroys Gaza building that houses media outlets as conflict escalates

“We then had some retaliation and now have a full-out bombardment of a civilian population in Gaza by one of the world’s most powerful militaries.

“This is an atrocity and it’s absolutely not good enough that the New Zealand Government hasn’t condemned it,” Ghahraman says.

She says she views the conflict from her background as an international criminal lawyer.

“Our focus is always obviously on civilian casualties and civilian protection.

“Gaza is a trapped population in the context of an occupation. Israel has obligations in humanitarian law to that population every single day. They don’t have the ability to leave.

“And now over the past few days, what we’ve seen is the occupying force becoming the aggressor,” Ghahraman says.

The former United Nations lawyer says New Zealand has an “obligation” to respond to civilians being killed in what she calls as an “absolute breach of international humanitarian law”.

New Zealand’s Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta has expressed concern over the attacks on both sides, however has not definitively addressed how the Government is stepping in.

“As we have previously said, Aotearoa New Zealand is very concerned about the ongoing violence in Israel, the Gaza Strip and the West Bank,” she said in a statement to 1 NEWS today.

“What’s important is ensuring that that all sides exercise restraint to prevent further civilian casualties and work towards a ceasefire. This is our number one priority for the region.

“We are continuing to work alongside the international community, continue to call for rapid de-escalation and for all sides to adhere to international law and international humanitarian law.

“As an international community we need to work to ensure there is a stop in hostilities. We are continuing to raise concerns through international and diplomatic channels,” Mahuta said.

(Abridged)

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