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UNITED
NATIONS
A

        General Assembly
Distr.
GENERAL
A/HRC/6/NGO/31
5 September 2007

ENGLISH ONLY

HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL
Sixth session
Item 7 and 9 of the provisional agenda


HUMAN RIGHTS SITUATION IN PALESTINE AND OTHER ARAB OCCUPIED TERRITORIES

RACISM, RACIAL DISCRIMINATION, AND RELATED FORMS OF INTORELANCE: FOLLOW-UP TO AND IMPLEMENTATION OF THE DURBAN DECLARATION AND PROGRAMME OF ACTION
Written statement submitted by B’nai B’rith International (BBI), a non-governmental organization in special consultative status


The Secretary-General has received the following written statement which is circulated in accordance with Economic and Social Council resolution 1996/31.

[30 August 2007]



_______________
* This written statement is issued, unedited, in the language(s) received from the submitting non-governmental organization(s).



The Question of the Occupied Palestinian Territories

The decision in the previous session to include a permanent item, as did its predecessor, on the question of Palestine, thus placing Israel on the agenda as the only country-specific agenda item is damaging to the Council’s credibility. For several years human rights bodies in the UN system have allowed this biased treatment toward Israel to occur; we had hoped that the intended improvements that this new human rights body was to institute would stop that trend. In singling out the only democratic country in the Middle East that has in place accountability and human rights mechanisms to investigate human rights violations, the HRC is punishing those who seek to promote transparency and human rights.

In an age when women are forbidden to congregate publicly and public executions are occurring with increasing frequency in Iran, North Koreans are starving to death, and hundreds of thousands have been murdered and millions displaced in Darfur, the Council’s agenda ignores these urgent human rights violations to satisfy the obsession of some member states with Israel. Despite the painful bias we see in these decisions we continue to engage with the Council with the hope that eventually member states will be able to prioritize human rights and turn away from this politicization. In focusing on condemnation of Israel the HRC is not contributing to a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict but rather perpetuating a cycle of blame that contributes to its escalation.

Compounding this problem is the Council’s decision to reiterate the former Commission’s perpetual mandate of the special rapporteur on the Palestinian territories, who focuses exclusively on alleged Israeli violations. This is in sharp contrast with the mandates of more than 40 other human rights experts.

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