Human Rights Council holds general debate on the human rights situation in Palestine and other occupied Arab Territories
Human Rights Council
Union of Arab Jurists said that Israeli occupying forces persisted in perpetuating the worst forms of violations against the Palestinian people and were supporting the terrorist organizations in the Occupied Syrian Golan with air cover, as admitted to the media by Israeli officials. The attacks of the United States-led coalition on the Syrian army positions testified to the fact that they were supporting terrorism in order to destroy Syria.
Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies, in a joint statement with BADIL Resource Center for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights; and Al Mezan Centre for Human Rights, reminded the Council that Palestinian human rights defenders pursuing accountability for grave crimes and working to end prolonged occupation had been facing serious attacks. Since 2015, representatives of leading human rights organizations, particularly staff based in Europe, engaging with the International Criminal Court with regard to the preliminary examination of the situation in occupied Palestinian territories, had been subjected to death threats, intimidation and harassment.
Conseil international pour le soutien à des procès équitables et aux Dorits de l’Homme said that the situation in the occupied Palestinian territories was identical to the apartheid in South Africa. Israel continued to disregard United Nations resolutions, including those allowing the Palestinian people to return to their lands. Israel was a rogue State and the international community must not bend under the pressure of Saudi Arabia and the United States.
International-Lawyers.org, in a joint statement, said that the situation in the occupied Palestinian territories seemed to be getting worse. The ongoing and widespread Israeli settlement activity was backed by an ideologically motivated military presence. The international community had a shared responsibility to take appropriate measures to ensure the respect of the human dignity of the Palestinian people.
Khiam Rehabilitation Centre for Victims of Torture asked how long the world would remain silent, and how long children would continue to be detained. Children were deprived of school and the love of their mothers. Their only recourse was to go on hunger strike. Regarding the administrative detention of Palestinians, the international community needed to put an end to it, and Israel was called on to comply with international commitments.
United Nations Watch said that the Council had heard the opposite of the truth. The Palestinian Authority refused to negotiate peace. They incited the stabbing of innocent civilians. Several countries were commended for choosing to defend the principle by protesting the agenda item and absenting themselves from the debate. The truth was that what the Council had seen today was the opposite of defending the principles of human rights.
Association des étudiants tamouls de France said due to escalating violence over the past several years, the number of Palestinian children in Israeli military detention had spiked. At the beginning of this year there were 440 Palestinian children in Israeli prisons. This was the highest number of Palestinian children in Israeli prisons at any given point since the Israeli Prison Service began releasing data in 2008. The Association urged all members of the Human Rights Council to demand that Israeli authorities immediately stopped the use of administrative detention against Palestinian children.
Conseil de jeunesse pluriculturelle said in the past eight months the actions of Israel’s Armed Forces had undermined the rights of Palestinian people, including their right to development. Deportations had tripled over the past several years. The international community was looking the other way. Formal complaints needed to be filed with international bodies.
Al Mezan Centre for Human Rights, in a joint statement with ADALAH - Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, said it had filed 107 complaints of war crimes in the State of Israel. Israel had not looked into a single case. This reflected Israel’s intention to shield violations of international humanitarian law by its military. Al Mezan called on the Human Rights Council to ensure that the Israeli forces’ apparent violations of international law were subject to independent criminal investigations, with the aim of ensuring justice for victims according to the principles of international law.
Association Bharathi Centre Culturel was deeply concerned by the failure of Israel to end the practice of racial segregation, discrimination and apartheid, and noted with concern the resignation of the Defense Minister and his statements about the dangerous drifting of Israel towards extremism. The non-governmental organization strongly condemned the negotiations for a new long-term agreement on United States military aid for Israel totalling $ 35 to 40 billion which would escalate human rights violations by Israel in the occupied Palestinian territories.
Right of Reply
Chile, speaking in a right of reply, said that the President of Bolivia today had launched an attack on Chile in his address to the Council, on an issue that was a bilateral one. His 30 minute diatribe was unprecedented in the Council, which was not an appropriate forum to discuss trade, transport of goods, and other issues the President had raised. Chile had fully complied with the provisions of the 1904 Treaty and it was unfortunate that Bolivia had used the Council to vilify Chile and launch unfounded accusations.
Bolivia, speaking in a right of reply, reiterated that the right to free transit through Chile was a compensation to Bolivia for having thousands of kilometres of the coast violently taken from it. It was a human rights issue as it involved discrimination and violence. People were obliged to wait for several days in very cold weather to pass the Chilean customs and border, and there was a lack of adequate provisions of toilets, or security to Bolivian citizens – those were examples of human rights violations.
23 Chile, speaking in a second right of reply, said that Bolivia was insisting on bringing bilateral issues to international fora. Bolivia’s version of history did not reflect the reality. The present forum should know about a case involving the International Court of Justice, of which Chile was awaiting a ruling. Chile was actively participating in all parts of the human rights system, and regretted that Bolivia was undermining the dignity of the Human Rights Council.
Bolivia, speaking in a second right of reply, said that a few years ago, since President Morales had spearheaded a campaign, trade violations had occurred. There had been a public announcement from a mayor regarding racism. Rights derived from compensation related to land-grabbing had led to the situation that Bolivian citizens were suffering from. Bolivia would not stand down from its stance.
For use of the information media; not an official record