The forced displacement of Gaza residents is an act of genocide, United Nations special rapporteur Balakrishnan Rajagopal said, warning other countries not to be part of it.
“Forcibly displacing the people of Gaza is an act of genocide, especially considering the large number of children,” said Balakrishnan Rajagopal, Special Rapporteur on the right to adequate housing on social network X.
He warned: “Officials of the Congo or other states will be guilty of aiding and abetting genocide if they agree to any population transfer.”
He cited media reports that Israeli officials were holding secret talks with the African nation of Congo and several others about potentially accepting residents from Gaza.
Israeli calls for forced displacement of Palestinians have escalated in recent weeks, with National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir and Finance Minister, Bezalel Smotrich, announcing on Monday their support for what they called “the voluntary displacement of Palestinians” from the Gaza Strip.
Meanwhile, the United Nations said the number of displaced people who arrived in Rafah in the southernmost part of the Gaza Strip is about 1 million since the beginning of an Israeli offensive on Oct. 7.
“Rafah governorate is now the main refuge for those displaced, with over one million people, squeezed into an extremely overcrowded space, following the intensification of hostilities in Khan Younis and Deir al Balah, and the Israeli military’s evacuation orders.”
The Israeli occupation has been pushing the Palestinians to flee towards Rafah, on the Egyptian borders, as an initial step to implement a recently revealed Israeli plan aimed at displacing the residents of Gaza to Sinai.
By the end of 2023, according to UNRWA, 1.9 million people, or nearly 85 percent of the total population of Gaza, were estimated to be internally displaced, including some who have been displaced multiple times, as families are forced to move repeatedly in search of safety.
Nearly 1.4 million internally displaced people are sheltering in 155 UNRWA facilities across all five governorates.
On the other hand, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights reiterated that there is no safe space in Gaza.
“We cannot talk about safety anywhere. People are sleeping in the streets, out in the open. Some of them have not been able to even follow the evacuation orders.”
Since Oct. 7, the Israeli occupation army has launched a bloody aggression on the Gaza Strip, causing a severe humanitarian and health catastrophe.
The Israeli aggression on the Gaza Strip constitutes a blatant violation of international humanitarian and human rights law as it exposes civilians’ lives to extreme danger, which requires an immediate international intervention.