Photo: Nour Naser Abu al-Nour of the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights was killed by an Israeli airstrike on her family home in Rafah on February 20. The airstrike also killed seven members of her family including her two-year-old daughter Kenzi Jumaa.

Speaking on a recently-released Amnesty International report entitled The State of the World’s Human Rights on Democracy Now!, Agnès Callamard, the organization’s secretary general, commented: “The scale of the violations committed over the last six months [by the Israeli military] is unprecedented. And I want to insist on that. It is unprecedented. The harm to civilians is unprecedented.”

As of April 24, Euro-Med Monitor documented that the “Israeli army has killed 42,510 Palestinians over the course of its 200-day attack, 38,621 of whom were civilians, including 10,091 women and 15,780 children.”

They further note that 79,240 Palestinians have been injured, “the vast majority of whom were civilians, with 70% being children and women.”

With a daily death toll of  212 Palestinians, including 79 children killed every day, these numbers only continue to increase.

What has the impact been on human rights defenders?

Front Line Defenders has noted: “People considered to be human rights defenders in the OPT [Occupied Palestinian Territory] include journalists, lawyers, medical workers, fieldworkers, international volunteers who act as independent observers and carry out human rights work and defenders working for economic, social and cultural rights.”

Using this definition, it can be estimated that at least 800 human rights defenders and international volunteers have been killed in Gaza since October 7, 2023.

Journalists: The Committee to Protect Journalists says that at least 97 journalists and media workers have been killed during this period.

Lawyers: The European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights notes that two lawyers – Dana Yaghi and Nour Naser Abu Al-Nour – from the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights were killed in Israeli airstrikes in February.

Medical workers: Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) says 499 healthcare workers have been killed in Gaza, including 5 MSF colleagues.

International volunteers: The New Republic has reported: “On April 1, the Israeli military repeatedly struck a humanitarian relief convoy from World Central Kitchen … killing seven foreign aid workers [including Canadian Jacob Flickinger].”

Field workers: TNR adds: “But the fact that the Israel Defense Forces had targeted and killed humanitarian workers was not, in fact, unusual. By April 1, the conflict had already killed more than 200 aid workers—a staggering number compared to other conflicts, and one that continues to rise.”

Arms embargo

Last month, Mary Lawlor wrote in The Guardian: “There exist no moral arguments that can justify the continued sale of weapons to Israel by states that respect the principle of the universality of human rights.”

She added: “During my work as the United Nations’ special rapporteur on human rights defenders, Palestinian human rights defenders have emphasized to me the importance of a ban being placed on such sales, given that Israel has demonstrated time and again that it will use such weapons indiscriminately against Palestinians.”

Lawlor also commented that while the US, the UK, Germany, France and Canada have “highlighted their steadfast support for human rights defenders … these same states continue to arm Israel.”

Peace Brigades International supports the demand for an immediate ceasefire and continues to call “on the international community to suspend the supply of arms to Israel and the armed groups involved in the conflict.”