Lebanon: The DFA appeals for an immediate cease-fire to protect civilians

Berne, 30.07.2006 - The massive escalation of the military operations in the conflict raging in Lebanon has increased by multiples the number of civilian victims. In particular, the air strike on Sunday against the village of Qana in southern Lebanon caused the deaths of several dozen civilians, mostly children. The Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs considers that although international law recognises the right of states to defend themselves against attack, such operations must adhere strictly to the rules of international humanitarian law, which stipulates that “Persons taking no active part in the hostilities, including members of armed forces who have laid down their arms and those placed hors de combat […] shall in all circumstances be treated humanely.” The DFA welcomes the holding of an urgent meeting by the United Nations Security Council, and hopes that it will lead to an immediate cease-fire in order to avoid further killings of innocent people and allow supplies of emergency humanitarian aid to reach those in need.

Since July 13, the DFA has been urging all parties to the conflict to halt the spiral of violence. Today, it reiterates in the strongest possible terms its condemnation of violence regardless of where it originates. It recalls that indiscriminate attacks against civilian populations are a violation of international humanitarian law.

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