UN rights chief slams both warring parties in Mideast
GENEVA, Switzerland - United Nations human rights chief Navi Pillay condemned on Friday, November 16, the killing of innocent civilians in the escalating Middle East conflict and called on both Israel and Gaza militants to cease hostilities.
"The High Commissioner has repeatedly and unequivocally condemned the indiscriminate firing of rockets from the Gaza Strip into southern Israel," Pillay's spokesman Rupert Colville told reporters in Geneva.
"She is also extremely concerned by the sharp increase in aerial attacks by Israeli forces on heavily populated Gaza Strip in the last two days."
Pillay placed equal emphasis on the need for both sides involved in the conflict to "pull back from the increasingly dangerous confrontation," the commissioner's spokesman said.
In a reference to UN leader Ban Ki-moon's appeal Wednesday for Israel to ease tensions with Gaza militants while also condemning the rocket attacks, Colville said that Pillay "joins with the secretary general and many others to take serious steps to avoid further escalation."
"We are urging both sides to stop," he said, lamenting that civilians were being killed on both sides, including several Palestinian children, a baby and reportedly a pregnant woman.
Colville insisted that both Israel and the Gaza authorities have a responsibility to protect their citizens.
"Everyone is watching and praying that it does not escalate any further," he said. - Agence France-Presse