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Rafah Border Situation

Published: 15th Feb, 2024

Context

South Africa asked the World Court to weigh whether Israel’s strikes on Rafah, and its intention to launch a ground offensive on the city, breaches both the U.N. Genocide Convention.a

Background

  • The International Court of Justice (ICJ) last month ordered Israelto take all measures within its power to prevent its troops from committing genocide against Palestinians in Gaza, in a case brought by South Africa.
  • Israel has denied all allegations of genocide in connection with its waragainst Gaza's ruling Palestinian Islamist group Hamas.

Rafah

  •  Rafah sits on the Gaza-Egypt border.
  • On the Palestinian side, it is the name of Gaza’s southernmost governorate and its capital city, as well as of the crossing into Egypt’s Sinai.
  • On the Egyptian side, it is a city in the North Sinai governorate.
  • Rafah was already one of the most densely-populated cities in Gaza before the war begin, housing some 280,000 people within 23 square miles.
  • Today, it is bursting at the seams as one of the sole places of refuge in the besieged enclave, now home to some 1.4 million people.

 U.N. Genocide Convention

  • The Genocide Convention is the first human rights treaty in the history of the United Nations, adopted on the eve of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
  • The Convention calls on all States, and all of us, to maintain vigilance, and push for action to prevent genocide, everywhere. 
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