March 13, 2024
PACE must not exclude Gaza from agenda for spring parliamentary session – Senator Paul Gavan

Sinn Féin Senator Paul Gavan has written to the President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) to express his shock that the issue of Gaza has been excluded from the agenda for the upcoming parliamentary session in April.
 
PACE is the parliamentary arm of the Council of Europe, a 46-nation international organisation dedicated to upholding human rights, democracy and the rule of law.
 
In his letter to President Theodoros Rousopoulos Senator Gavan, who has been a member of PACE for the past 6 years, expressed his dismay at the situation. 

Senator Gavan said:
 
“I received the agenda and was genuinely shocked to see no place for Gaza anywhere in the contents.
 
“In the midst of the ongoing genocide against the people of Gaza, a slaughter that has already seen over 30,000 deaths- largely of women and children- how does it look for Europe’s Human Rights Assembly to choose not to discuss this issue?
 
“As I write there are reports of increasing numbers of children dying from deliberate starvation and the spectre of enforced famine is there now for all of us to see. This unfolding horror will be continuing to happen as we gather in Strasbourg.
 
“We desperately need Europe to play a key role in calling for an immediate ceasefire and using all possible instruments at our disposal to pressurise the Israeli government to stop this act of collective punishment against the Palestinian people.”
 
Senator Gavan concluded his letter by stating:

“I honestly believe it would be unconscionable for the assembly not to address this issue as its highest priority in the April session. 

“I also believe not to address this issue undermines the case we have consistently made to condemn the illegal invasion and occupation of Ukraine by Russia.

“We cannot loudly condemn one illegal occupation, whilst turning a blind eye to the genocide happening within another illegal occupation.”

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