Question of Palestine home || Permalink || About UNISPAL || Search

Le Conseil des droits de l'homme examine la situation de droits de l'homme en Palestine et autres territoires arabes occupés - 24ème session - Communiqué de presse Français
Follow UNISPAL RSS Twitter

Source: United Nations Office at Geneva (UNOG)
Human Rights Council
23 September 2013




HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL HOLDS GENERAL DEBATE ON THE HUMAN RIGHTS SITUATION IN PALESTINE AND OTHER OCCUPIED ARAB TERRITORIES

Holds General Debate on Universal Periodic Review

23 September 2013

The Human Rights Council this morning heard the introduction of the report of the Secretary-General on the human rights situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, followed by a general debate on the human rights situation in Palestine and other Occupied Arab Territories. It also held a general debate on the Universal Periodic Review.

Flavia Pansieri, Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights, presenting the report of the Secretary-General, said the report addressed the human rights situation in Gaza, including with respect to the access-restricted areas and the on-going blockade, and reiterated previous concerns regarding the human rights situation in the West Bank.  The lack of accountability for crimes, and for violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law, including the failure of all parties to effectively investigate such violations, was a concern raised throughout the report.  The Secretary-General noted that there were serious concerns that neither Israel nor the de facto authorities in Gaza had taken adequate steps to investigate credible allegations of violations of international law following the end of last November’s escalation of hostilities in Gaza.

Palestine and Syria spoke as concerned countries; Israel’s representative was not present in the room.

In the general debate that followed, speakers voiced deep concern about the illegal conduct of Israel which was not consistent with its obligations under international humanitarian law, including the Fourth Geneva Convention.  It was noted that the rights of the Palestinians continued to be flouted by the very existence of settlements, and that Israel continued to build these.  A call was made for the immediate end to settlement-building on Palestinian land and their dismantlement.  The Council must take the appropriate measures against both the direct perpetrators of the killings and those that supported them through arms, technology or financially.  It was high time for the international community in all its components to move from words in favour of the Palestinian cause to actions.

Speaking in the discussion were Pakistan on behalf of the Organization for Islamic Cooperation, Iran on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, Gabon on behalf of the African Group, Palestine on behalf of the Arab Group, Ecuador on behalf of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas, Brazil on behalf of the India-Brazil-South Africa Dialogue Forum, Malaysia, United Arab Emirates, Indonesia, Ecuador, Venezuela, Qatar and Kuwait.

/...

The Human Rights Council will resume its work this afternoon at 3 p.m. to hear an address from the Commissioner for Human Rights, Humanitarian Action and Relations with Civil Society of Mauritania, and continue its general debate on the human rights situation in Palestine and other occupied Arab territories.

/...

Documentation


The Council has before it the
report of the Secretary-General on the human rights situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem - Report of the Secretary-General (A/HRC/24/30).

Presentation of the Report of the Secretary-General on the Human Rights Situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem


FLAVIA PANSIERI,
Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights, introduced the report of the Secretary-General on the human rights situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, including East Jerusalem, pursuant to the Council’s resolution 22/28 of 22 March 2013.  The report was based on information gathered by the Office of the High Commissioner’s field presence and other United Nations entities operating in Palestine.  It addressed the human rights situation in Gaza, including with respect to the access-restricted areas and the on-going blockade.  While recognizing Israel’s security concerns, the Secretary-General recommended the lifting of the blockade and urged Israel to remedy punitive measures against civilians.

The report reiterated previous concerns regarding the human rights situation in the West Bank, including with regard to settler violence, forcible transfers, demolitions, forced evictions, excessive use of force by Israeli security forces, and the situation of Palestinians, including children detained by Israel.  The report also raised concerns with regard to the Palestinian Authority, with particular concern about cases of ill-treatment of Palestinian detainees.

The lack of accountability for crimes, and for violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law, including the failure of all parties to effectively investigate such violations, was a concern raised throughout the report.  The Secretary-General noted that there were serious concerns that neither Israel nor the de facto authorities in Gaza had taken adequate steps to investigate credible allegations of violations of international law following the end of last November’s escalation in hostilities in Gaza.

The report also recommended that the Government of Palestine conduct effective investigations into all suspected violations of international human rights law in order to ensure accountability.  The Secretary-General noted that the adoption of the National Plan of Action for Human Rights would be an important step to assist Palestine in its on-going efforts to improve its human rights performance.

Statements by the Countries Concerned


The President of the Council said the representative of
Israel was not in the room.

Palestine
, speaking as a concerned country, said that it would have hoped to see Israel’s Ambassador in the Council’s room today.  His absence showed the arrogance of Israel.  The report showed the numerous human rights violations committed by the Israeli authorities in the occupied Palestinian territory.  Israel continued its policies of deliberate violations of United Nations resolutions and international law, which were fully applicable in the occupied Palestinian territory.  Israel should abide with the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice according to which the wall was illegal.  The wall was an obstacle to the enjoyment of the rights of the Palestinian people.  Palestine reiterated that Israeli settlements were illegal under international law.  An independent committee of the Working Group on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises should be established to investigate the effects of the Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory.  The Security Council, the General Assembly and the Human Rights Council, as well as other international bodies, had stated in resolutions and reports that the attempt of Israel to change the socio-demographic nature of parts of Palestine was null and void.  Israel had to respect the Geneva conventions.  The failure of the international community to ensure that Israel respected its international obligations jeopardized the credibility of international law.  The international community had to find mechanisms to enforce international law at all times.  The systematic occupation policy was the major cause of the human rights violations that occurred in Palestine.  The blockade on occupied Gaza had to be lifted.  A Special Procedure mandate should be created to study the effects of unilateral sanctions on human rights.

Syria
, speaking as a concerned country, said that the continued culture of impunity in Israel had been attested to in many international commissions, and amounted to the recognition of war crimes.  The defence, supported by the United States, was that Israel had a status that was somehow above the law; this did not enjoy any legitimacy.  The treatment of prisoners, the abuse of the rights of those living in the Golan, and the destruction of the wealth of the occupied lands should all be ended.  Syria called for a boycott of Israeli products made as a result of the occupation. 

General Debate on the Human Rights Situation in Palestine and Other Occupied Arab Territories


Pakistan
, speaking on behalf of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, said that it was deeply concerned by the illegal conduct of Israel which was not consistent with its obligations under international humanitarian law, including the Fourth Geneva Convention.  Israel’s blockade of the occupied Gaza Strip, an integral part of Palestine, was an unlawful act of collective punishment.  The Organization of Islamic Cooperation demanded an end to the illegal occupation of Syrian land, and violations of international human rights and humanitarian law.

Iran
, speaking on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, said that it appreciated the report of the Secretary-General and deeply shared his concerns on the recurrence of violations already highlighted in previous reports.  The Non-Aligned Movement also condemned the persistent non-cooperation of Israel and its blatant disregard of its international obligations.  As a case in point, the continued illegal settlement policy had to cease. The Non-Aligned Movement called for Israel to meet its legal and moral responsibilities with respect to the fundamental rights of the Palestine people.

Gabon
, speaking on behalf of the African Group , said the report noted that the rights of the Palestinians continued to be flouted by the very existence of settlements, and that Israel continued to build settlements.  The African Group noted with interest the direct resumption of negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians.  There was shared concern about continued settlement building by Israel and about violence by settlers.  The African Group called for the immediate end to settlement-building on Palestinian land and their dismantlement.

Palestine
, speaking on behalf of the Arab Group, condemned the lack of cooperation and respect shown by Israel.  Israel, the occupying power, continued its colonialist measures, going against all the resolutions of United Nations bodies and international humanitarian law, and above all the Fourth Geneva Convention, which was applicable to the occupied Palestinian territories, including Jerusalem.  It was high time for the international community in all its components to move from words in favour of the Palestinian cause, to actions.

Ecuador
, speaking on behalf of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas, reiterated the recognition given to the State of Palestine in 2010.  It was worrying that violence continued and a call for peace through dialogue and negotiation was made.  The Alliance denounced the illegal settlements as a mechanism to secure territorial rights by the occupying power.  The Council must take the appropriate measures against both the direct perpetrators of the killings and those that supported them through arms, technology or financially. 

Brazil
, speaking on behalf of the India, Brazil and South Africa Dialogue Forum, said that serious human rights violations continued to be committed in the occupied Palestinian territory and reiterated their call upon Israel to stop building settlements.  This was an obligation under international law and relevant Security Council resolutions.  The countries were disturbed by the destruction of houses and civilian buildings.  Israel should lift the blockade on Gaza.  Occupation remained the main cause of human rights violations in the occupied Palestinian territory.   

Malaysia
said that while a political and peaceful two-State solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was awaited, the Palestinian people continued to suffer the oppression of Israel, the occupying power.  The illegal blockade on Gaza, confiscation of land and demolition of houses and infrastructure were but a few of the brutal atrocities Palestinians had to suffer.  The Council must send a strong and unified message to the occupying power that impunity would not be condoned.

United Arab Emirates
said that the report contained a black list of systematic violations committed by Israel, including restriction of the movement of Palestinians.  The list of these restrictions was well-known.  Freedom of movement was part of the various past peace agreements, but the restrictions had not been lifted so far.  The violations of the rights of Palestinians by the occupying power was not the exception, it was the rule.  As the Secretary-General put it in his report, the daily activities of Israeli citizens were very complicated or even impossible for Palestinian citizens.

Indonesia
said it continued to be a steadfast supporter of the Palestinian people.  The Secretary-General’s report once again confirmed Israel’s continued flagrant violations of international humanitarian law.  It was regrettable that the delegation of Israel was not present at this Council to either confirm or deny these concerns.  The negative impact on the human rights of Palestinians of the Separation Wall was of particular concern.  The suffering of the Palestinian people and evidence of the inhuman policies of Israel were too great to ignore.  Indonesia urged all parties to resume peace talks. 

Ecuador
reiterated its support for the establishment of a State of Palestine free from occupation.  Ecuador therefore urged those countries that had vetoed resolutions in the Security Council to rethink their position with respect to the suffering of the Palestinian people.  Numerous practices remained in place that violated the basic rights of the Palestinian people.  Ecuador was concerned about the erection of the Separation Wall and the ongoing blockade of Gaza.

Venezuela
said the rights of the Palestinian people to their land were age-old and Venezuela once again lamented the actions of Israel, as well as the impunity it was seemingly granted, which had caused so much suffering.  The leaders of Israel must be held accountable for these acts.  Venezuela called on Israel and its accomplices in the international community to uphold the right of resettlement for the Palestinian people and respect the 1967 borders.

Qatar
condemned continuing Israeli violations of the human rights of the Palestinian people and called on the international community to put pressure on Israel to compel it to abide by international humanitarian law.  Israel had to understand that the question of settlements was a major obstacle to negotiation efforts to ensure a just and comprehensive peace.

Kuwait
reiterated its condemnation of Israeli violations of human rights and of the principles and rules of international humanitarian law as well as relevant Geneva Conventions on occupied Palestinian territory and other occupied Arab territories.  There was a need to respect the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination and to address the issue of Palestinian refugees.  


For use of the information media; not an official record

HRC13/118E



Follow UNISPAL RSS Twitter