Asia Pacific Forum’s chair voices concerns over Israel-Hamas war

SEOUL, The chief of the national human rights watchdog expressed concerns Wednesday over the escalating war between Israel and Hamas, calling for protections for civilians.

Song Doo-hwan, chief of the National Human Rights Commission, made the call in a statement he issued in his capacity as the chairperson of the Asia Pacific Forum (APF), a regional network of national human rights institutions.

"We grieve the loss of innocent civilian lives in the past week, both in the deliberate and inhumane attacks on the civilian population by Hamas, as well as the continued military campaign by Israeli forces, which has resulted in civilian casualties in Gaza," Song said.

The APF chief also stressed killing civilians for strategic considerations or in retaliation is "a clear violation" of international humanitarian law.

"We strongly urge all parties to the armed conflict to respect and uphold the principles of international humanitarian law, in particular the protection of civilians during armed conflict under the Fourth Geneva Convention," he noted.

Song also pointed to the dire human rights conditions civilians in Gaza are facing, adding that hundreds of thousands have been displaced while a severe shortage of drinking water, food and fuel is having a devastating impact.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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