On Wednesday, family members of the four Israelis held by Hamas in Gaza underwent a humanitarian visit in Geneva, calling for the return of their loved ones.
For the past nine years now, Lieutenant Hadar Goldin, First Sergeant Oron Shaul, Avera Mengistu and Hisham el-Sayed have been held captive incommunicado by the Hamas terrorist organization in complete violation and disregard to international law. Over the years, no information has been provided regarding their fate and whereabouts, and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has not been allowed to visit them.
The visit, which is taking place as part of the 53rd session of the Human Rights Council, was initiated and coordinated by the Israeli Mission to the UN in Geneva and included high-level meetings with Mr. Gilles Carbonnier, Vice-President of the ICRC, as well as with Ambassadors. A meeting with Mr. Volker Türk, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, also took place.
The delegation shared their testimonies and called for the international community to act during a side event to the Human Rights Council organized in collaboration with the World Jewish Congress and the International Human Rights Law Clinic of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
This is the second trip in recent months by all four families aimed at mobilizing senior international leadership, including Pope Francis, in exerting pressure on the terrorist organization Hamas, which still holds the bodies of Lt. Hadar Goldin and Sgt Oron Shaul, as well as Avera Mengistu and Hisham el-Sayed, two civilians with severe psychosocial disabilities.
Ambassador Meirav Eilon Shahar, Israel's envoy to the UN in Geneva: “Hadar, Oron, Avera and Hisham must come back home. Israel will continue working tirelessly until their return becomes reality." She added that "it is incumbent upon the international community as a whole, including the ICRC and the United Nations, within their respective mandates, to ensure that both Hamas and the Palestinian Authority comply with their responsibilities."