Human Rights Activist and Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) Femi Falana has called for immediate and unconditional ceasefire by Israel from the onslaught on Palestinians.
Falana made the call on Saturday in his remarks as the Guest Speaker at the 2023 West Africa Media Excellence Conference Awards (WAMECA) in Accra.
The Nigerian legal luminary noted that while Israelis were entitled to defend themselves against terrorist attacks, the collective punishment being meted out to all Palestinians, including women and children, who are currently being killed is not accepted.
“Punishment is a crime under the Geneva convention. What is currently going on there is collective punishment which is tantamount to a crime against humanity.
“Let the Israeli government know that the world is against the unprovoked attack on the innocent people of Palestine.
“Many Palestinians are opposed to the antics and practice of Hamas. So they can’t punish them for the violence unleashed on Israel by Hamas.
“So, I am pleading with journalists to rise from here tonight to join the human rights community, demanding for a ceasefire, immediate and unconditional ceasefire.
“Let Israel pursue Hamas; go and look for Hamas, but please spare innocent people, unarmed people in Palestine,” said the human rights actor.
The ongoing war on the land of Palestine, Falana said, had made a mockery of humanity globally.
“We watch from the television how children are being killed, hospitals being attacked.
“Let the government of Israel know that while we oppose to terrorism on the part of Hamas, we are equally opposed to the onslaught on the Palestinians.
Speaking one of the sub-themes of the conference: “Corruption, Illicit Financial Flows and Democratic Governance in West Africa”, the guest speaker challenged journalists from the sub-region to shift focus from politics to economic programmes of governments in the area.
“I am putting a challenge on journalists today to please go out of (coverage of) politics. You’ve written very well about politics. Let us begin to interrogate the economic programmes of our governments. The implementation of neo-liberal policies, but that has continued to accentuate poverty in the region,” he said.
The senior advocate also condemned the recent military intervention in four countries in the region, calling on the regional bodies to address the remote causes of such a situation.
Besides, he urged journalists to help in changing the narrative of oppression and underdevelopment in West Africa.