Open Letter to the Irish Government to Invoke the Genocide Convention

NOBEL LAUREATES, 11 Dec 2023

Mairead Maguire, Nobel Peace Laureate | The Peace People - TRANSCEND Media Service

27 Nov 2023 – We, the undersigned organizations and concerned individuals, watch with increasing horror the growing death toll and ongoing humanitarian crisis unfolding in Gaza. We believe there is an urgent need for action under the Genocide Convention. A public statement, signed by 880 scholars on 15th October 2023, has highlighted the overwhelming evidence suggesting that the Government of Israel has carried out acts of genocide against civilians in Gaza. The evidence includes disproportionate attacks, indiscriminate bombing, the destruction of residential neighbourhoods, the use of starvation as a weapon, and the deliberate cut off of humanitarian supplies. The ongoing Israeli siege of Gaza, which began in 2006, has created conditions that are alarmingly reminiscent of a slow-moving precursor to genocide.

It is reported that since October 7, 2023, over 14,000 Palestinian people have been killed or gone missing under the rubble in Gaza. Israeli air strikes have targeted water supplies, churches, mosques, hospitals, schools and universities. Entire Palestinian families have been wiped out, and residential neighbourhoods have been levelled. Israel has forcibly displaced 1.1 million residents of Gaza City and northern Gaza areas. Israel has collectively punished the people of Gaza by cutting all of life’s essentials. Over 2.3 million people living in the Gaza Strip have been denied access to basic supplies, including food, water, electricity, medicine, and fuel, leading to a severe humanitarian crisis with Gaza’s population being deliberately starved and facing dehydration and disease. This assault on Gaza continues alongside the backdrop of ongoing threats and forced expulsion of Palestinians from their villages in the West Bank by extremist settlers supported by the Israeli military.

Israel’s inflammatory statements accompanying the aggression, include speeches from both the Israeli President and Prime minister, who have both repeatedly used language that dehumanises Palestinians and supports collective punishment. Israeli Minister of Defence Yoav Gallant’s declaration on October 9th that

We are imposing a complete siege on Gaza. No electricity, no food, no water, no fuel. Everything is closed. We are fighting human animals, and we will act accordingly” and later on the 10th that “I have released all the restraints, we have [regained] control of the area, and we are moving to a full offense…Gaza will never return to what it was, we will eliminate everything

reflect an intention to commit genocide crimes.  Also, on the 10th October IDF spokesperson R Adm Daniel Hagari made the startling admission that “hundreds of tons of bombs” had already been dropped Gaza with an “emphasis on damage and not on accuracy” actions that go against the principles of humanity and international law.

The Convention for the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide’ protects “national, ethnical, racial and religious” groups from intentional physical destruction. UN experts, including the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the occupied Palestinian territories, Francesca Albanese, confirmed that the “Palestinian people are at risk of genocide.” The Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide has been relentlessly violated by Israel, as it collectively targets the people of the Gaza Strip for merely being Palestinians.

Article 1 of the Convention clearly states that genocide is a crime under international law that must be prevented and punished. Article 2 outlines acts that constitute genocide, including causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group and deliberately inflicting conditions of life calculated to bring about physical destruction in whole or in part.

Ireland’s own history marked by dispossession, discrimination, and political subjugation has left a lasting legacy and a deep empathy for those facing similar struggles around the world.  We call upon the government of Ireland to stand on the right side of history and invoke the Genocide Convention to protect Palestinians from genocide.  We urge Ireland to take immediate and concrete steps to put an end to this horrific crime imposed on Palestinians by applying pressure in all international forums to hold Israel accountable for its actions. We also call on relevant international bodies, including the Office of Genocide Prevention and the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Court of Justice, to intervene immediately, conduct investigations, and take the necessary measures to protect Palestinian civilians from genocide.

The world is watching, and we implore you to act swiftly in the name of justice, human rights, and international law.

Sincerely,

Noble Laureate Mairead Maguire, Peace People Northern Ireland.

Dr. Raied Al-Wazzan, Vice-Chair Northern Ireland Council for Racial Equality.

Professor Francis A. Boyle Human Right Lawyer and prof of international law.

Dr. Edward Horgan, Commandant (Retired) Irish Defence Forces.

Mr. Gerry Carroll, MLA

Mr. Gerry Grehan, Peace People, Chairperson.

Sue Pentel, Jews for Palestine-Ireland.

Becca Bor, Jews for Palestine-Ireland.

Annie de bhFal, Jews for Palestine-Ireland.

Dr. Brian Kelly, Reader in History, Queens University Belfast.

Mr. Muhammed Arshed, Chairman, Belfast Islamic Centre.

Zoe Lawlor, Chairperson, Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign.

Cailin McCaffery, Belfast Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign.

Nada Ahmed, Belfast Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign.

Rose McMahon, Belfast Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign.

Hans Von Sponeck.

Dr. Edward  Horgan Commandant ( Retired Defence Forces )

Professor Monica Mc Williams.

Joe Murray, Director of AFRI.

Ann Patterson, Peace People.

Rodger Cole, PANA.

Rita Duffy, Irish Artist.

Clare Grehan-Toland, Peace People.

Tools For Solidarity.

Rob Fairmichael, Innate.

_________________________________________

Mairead Corrigan Maguire, co-founder of Peace People, is a member of the TRANSCEND Network for Peace Development Environment. She won the 1976 Nobel Peace Prize for her work for peace in Northern Ireland. Her book, The Vision of Peace, (edited by John Dear with a foreword by Desmond Tutu and a preface by the Dalai Lama) is available from www.wipfandstock.com. She lives in Belfast, Northern Ireland. See: www.peacepeople.com.

The Peace People began in 1976 as a protest movement against the ongoing violence in Northern Ireland. Its three founders were Mairead Maguire, Betty Williams and Ciaran McKeown. Over 100,000 people were involved in the initial movement and two of the founders, Mairead and Betty, received the Nobel Peace Prize for that year. Since its inception, the organization has been committed to building a just, peaceful society through nonviolent means – a society based on respect for each individual, and that has at its core the highest standards of human and civil rights.


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This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 11 Dec 2023.

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