HRW: Communications blackouts like in Gaza could be 'cover for atrocities'
Restrictions on communications, like those imposed by Israel in the Gaza Strip, could be used to cover up atrocities, Human Rights Watch has warned.
In a statement on Wednesday, the organisation said the besieged Palestinian territory is facing an imminent communications blackout due to fuel shortages caused by Israel's ongoing assault and blockade.
A total blackout will further compound the dire humanitarian crisis in Gaza, the NGO added.
"Intentional, blanket shutdowns or restrictions on access to the internet violate multiple rights and can be deadly during crises,” said Deborah Brown, a senior technology researcher at Human Rights Watch.
“Prolonged and complete communications blackouts, like those experienced in Gaza, can provide cover for atrocities and breed impunity while further undermining humanitarian efforts and putting lives at risk.”
HRW urged Israel to end its blockade, allow fuel into Gaza and "refrain from deliberately shutting down or destroying telecommunications systems that cause disproportionate harm to civilians".