JOHANNESBURG – African countries, have sent a strong message to the international community at the 38th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva that the world must act urgently to end Israel’s military occupation of Palestine.

Speaking on Monday at a general debate on Item 7 of the UNHRC agenda (the human rights situation in Palestine and other occupied Arab territories), the 54 member-strong African Group, represented by Togo’s Awoki Koinzi, called for an end to the Israeli military occupation of Palestine and the blockade imposed on the Gaza Strip, and condemned Israel for its excessive use of force against Palestinian demonstrators in the Gaza Strip, the Afro-Palestine Newswire reported.

Representing 28% of all UN members, the African Group reaffirmed its support for the Palestinian people’s right to self-determination.

The African Group also reminded the UNHRC of its obligation to act immediately to ensure that the Palestinian people are able to realise their right to self-determination, justice and freedom.

South Africa’s representative, Nozipho Joyce Mxakato-Diseko, labelled Israel’s policies against the Palestinian people as apartheid.

Mxakato-Diseko condemned Israel’s detention without trial policies, violations of due process, settlement construction, population transfers, forced evictions, home demolitions and Israel’s discriminatory planning and zoning policies and collective punishment meted out by the occupying power.

Highlighting the treatment of Palestinian women and girls she lambasted the UNHRC for its inaction in this area.

“It is an indictment of this council that no resolution has yet been produced, focusing on women and girls in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT).”

African News Agency (ANA)