At UN, Egypt Is Accused of Breaking Law by Closing Rafah
Crossing, as UN Envoy Serry Defends, is Puzzled
Byline: Matthew Russell Lee of
Inner City Press at the UN: News Analysis
January 7 -- With the UN and
Western members of its Security Council now looking for solutions about
the country to the south, the question has arisen whether Egypt is violating international law in
blocking entry to those seeking to flee the bombing. Wednesday at the
UN, Inner City Press asked Human Rights
expert Sarah Leah Whitson to elaborate on her cursory statement that
complicit in war crimes for keeping closed its Rafah crossing with the
Whitson responded that Egypt is legally required to open the
crossing, but has refused to do so "unless representatives of Fatah"
man the crossing. She called this "injecting a political formula onto a
humanitarian situation" and legal responsibility. Video
main envoy to the region, Robert Serry, views things decidedly
Inner City Press asked Serry to respond to HRW' statement that Egypt is
violating the law by blocking those who flee at the Rafah crossing.
bit puzzled by the charge," Serry said, noting somewhat irrelevantly
the Egyptian Red Cross has been "active with medicines" in the Gaza
Strip, and that some patients have been allowed out through Rafah. But
about those who are fleeing the bombing of their homes? Serry said,
"I really don't want to comment further." Video here,
from Minute 41:18.
UN envoy Serry, puzzled by international humanitary law, with John
is not alone in this solicitous approach to Egypt, even the UN's
Antonio Gutteres has said that international law requires the opening
Earlier on Wednesday, UN humanitarian coordinator John Holmes said the
conflict is unique because its victims "have nowhere to flee to."
Inner City Press asked if he meant by this the blockage of the borders,
including by Egypt. Holmes nodded. Video here,
from Minute 50:07.
would the UN's humanitarian and refugee chieftains say the border must
opened, while top political envoy Robert Serry disagrees and says he's
What is the UN's position? For now we note: Politics
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