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HRW & Amnesty: Gaza blackout risks providing cover for mass atrocities

GAZA(Palestine Foundation Information Center)Human Rights Watch (HRW) and Amnesty International warned that the total telecommunications blackout in Gaza amid Israel’s ongoing bombardment of the Palestinian territory risks providing cover for mass atrocities.

“Widespread phone and internet outages occurred in Gaza on October 27, 2023, amid a concerted Israeli bombardment, almost entirely cutting off the 2.2 million residents from the outside world,” HRW said in a statement.

“This information blackout risks providing cover for mass atrocities and contributing to impunity for human rights violations,” Deborah Brown, HRW senior technology and human rights researcher, said in the statement.

For its part, the NGO Amnesty International said it had also lost contact with colleagues in Gaza.

“This communications blackout means that it will be even more difficult to obtain critical information and evidence about human rights violations and war crimes being committed against Palestinian civilians in Gaza,” it added.

Several other international agencies and NGOs said they had lost touch with their staff in Gaza on Friday evening, including the UN’s humanitarian agency, OCHA.

OCHA humanitarian coordinator, Lynn Hastings, said in a statement that UN hospitals and humanitarian operations “can’t continue without communications,” alongside energy, food, water, and medications.

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