Le Conseil des droits de l'homme examine la situation de droits de l'homme en Palestine et autres territoires arabes occupés - 27ème session - Communiqué de presse Français
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HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL HOLDS GENERAL DEBATE ON THE HUMAN RIGHTS SITUATION
IN PALESTINE AND OTHER OCCUPIED ARAB TERRITORIES
22 September 2014
The Human Rights Council this afternoon heard the introduction of the report of the High Commissioner for Human Rights on ensuring respect for international law 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.
Flavia Pansieri, Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights, presenting the report, said that the level of death and destruction during the recent escalation of hostilities in Gaza was even more devastating than during previous escalations over the past six years. Some 1,479 of a total of 2,158 Palestinian fatalities were civilians, of them 506 were children. On the Israeli side, 66 soldiers and five civilians were killed. More than 100,000 Palestinians in Gaza were left without a habitable home to return to, and 497,000 people had been internally displaced. There were serious concerns of violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law by Palestinian armed groups and Israeli forces. It was crucial that steps were taken to ensure accountability.
Palestine and Syria spoke as concerned countries. Israel’s representative was not present in the room.
In the general debate that followed, speakers strongly condemned the recent Israeli attacks on Gaza, which had caused an alarming number of civilian casualties. Speakers also condemned Israel’s occupation over Palestinian territories and its illegal settlements activities, restrictions on the freedom of movement of Palestinians under occupation as well as other violations of the rights of Palestinians. Speakers welcomed the establishment of the new Commission of Inquiry as a mean to ensure accountability and called on Israel to fully collaborate with it and with the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. Speakers also condemned the indiscriminate firing of rockets by Hamas.
A number of speakers expressed deep disappointment that some States had ceased their participation under agenda item 7 on the human rights situation in Palestine and other occupied Arab territories, which was particularly disturbing in the light of the latest Israeli behaviour.
Speaking during the debate were Iran on behalf of the Non-aligned Movement, Pakistan on behalf of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, United Arab Emirates on behalf of the Arab Group, Ethiopia on behalf of the African Group, Ireland, Venezuela, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Russian Federation, Indonesia, Chile, Cuba China, Maldives, United Arab Emirates, Algeria, Brazil, Kuwait, Mexico, Peru, Morocco, Qatar, Egypt, Ecuador, Turkey, Iraq, Iceland, Oman, Bangladesh, Jordan, Switzerland, Iran, Malaysia, Sudan, Bahrain, Lebanon, Senegal, and Sri Lanka.
Qatar and Syria spoke in a right of reply.
The Human Rights Council will resume its work on Tuesday, 23 September at 9 a.m., to host a panel on accelerating global efforts to end violence against children. The Council will resume its general debate on the human rights situation in Palestine and other occupied Arab territories at noon.
The Council has before it the report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on the implementation of resolution S-21/1 on ensuring respect for international law in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem (A/HRC/27/76)
Presentation of the Report
FLAVIA PANSIERI, United Nations Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights, presenting the report, recalled the dramatic deterioration of the human rights situation that had taken place in Gaza and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, in recent months. Monitoring and verification of violations continued but there was a pressing need for more thorough investigation, and for appropriate and effective accountability measures. Preliminary data suggested that 1,479 of a total of 2,158 Palestinian fatalities were civilians, of them 506 were children. On the Israeli side, reports indicated that in addition to 66 soldiers, at least five civilians were killed during hostilities, as well as one person whose status was not yet known. More than 100,000 Palestinians in Gaza were left without a habitable home to return to. And as of 26 August, 497,000 people had been internally displaced. The tragic deaths of hundreds of migrants from Gaza in the Mediterranean in recent days showed just how desperate many people were to escape their miserable situation.
The report noted serious concerns of violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law, including some that may amount to war crimes. There were concerns with respect to conduct by Palestinian armed groups, including the indiscriminate nature of rocket attacks and the reported failure to respect the inviolability of United Nations premises. Conduct during the hostilities by Israeli forces raised serious concerns that international humanitarian law principles of distinction, proportionality and precautions in attack had not been respected. Meanwhile, the situation in the West Bank remained a grave cause for concern. Following the kidnapping and murder in June of three Israeli youths near Hebron, Israeli authorities resumed the practice of punitive demolitions, carried out mass arrests of Palestinians, and imposed severe movement restrictions. It was of critical importance that steps were taken at the domestic level to ensure accountability for violations of international law, and that all parties cooperated fully with the Commission of Inquiry. The recommendation to refer the situation to the International Criminal Court as one avenue of accountability remained relevant.
Statement by Concerned Countries
State of Palestine, speaking as a concerned country, expressed its disappointment at Israel’s decision not to participate in this agenda item of the Council. The occupation and numerous human rights violations by Israel for the last 47 years made Israel the world’s biggest violator of human rights. The latest Israeli aggression had put the occupied Gaza Strip under siege, shelling and bombarding it by air, land and sea. Its targeting of civilians, private property, infrastructure and United Nations buildings such as the UNRWA schools was tantamount to war crimes and crimes against humanity. The aggression led to the murder of more than 2,000 and injury of more than 11,000 civilians, more than a third of whom were children. Half a million Palestinians had been displaced. Palestine welcomed the Council’s appointment of the independent Commission of Inquiry to investigate what happened, adding that the international community should force accountability and end impunity, including by forcing Israel to cooperate with the International Criminal Court. Palestine said since 1967 Israel had detained some 800,000 Palestinians, 6,500 of whom continued to languish in prison, including 2,200 Palestinians detained by Israel in the last two months. Israel was one of the worst offenders of arbitrary detention. Palestine condemned the plans to forcibly displace Palestinian Bedouins from the eastern part of Jerusalem and called on the United Nations to put an end to Israel’s illegal settlement activities. Palestine called on all States to implement United Nations advisory principles on trade and human rights. It paid tribute to Switzerland’s efforts to convene a meeting of the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention on its application on the occupied Palestinian territories, in order to better protect civilians.
Syria, speaking as a concerned country, said that the violations of human rights by Israel were part and parcel of discriminatory policies and practices of Israel towards Palestinian and Syrian citizens living under the occupation. Israel continued to defy the international community and disregard its resolutions, and enjoyed impunity under the protection of some countries. Israel continued to provide assistance to terrorist organizations operating on the border in order to undermine peace keeping operations, and this was documented. Other countries that supported terrorism were in cohort with Israel, such as Qatar. It was time to put an end to the expansionist and colonialist policy of Israel, including the coercive displacement of people.
Iran, speaking on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, condemned in the strongest terms the violations of human rights as a result of Israel’s military aggression against Palestine and underscored the need to continue to provide political, economic and humanitarian support to the Palestinian people. The Non-Aligned Movement welcomed the establishment of the new Commission of Inquiry as a mean to establish accountability and was deeply disappointed by the decision of some States to cease their participation under this agenda item.
Pakistan, speaking on behalf of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, expressed deep disappointment that some States had ceased their participation under agenda item 7 which was particularly disturbing in the light of the latest Israeli behaviour. The Organization of Islamic Cooperation welcomed the establishment of the new Commission of Inquiry as a mean to establish accountability and expressed disappointment for Israel’s refusal to cooperate with the Special Rapporteur. Israel continued to build the wall in the occupied Palestine, impose the dual legal system and fragment territories, even though apartheid was clearly prohibited in international law.
United Arab Emirates, speaking on behalf of the Arab Group, was concerned about the European Union’s decision to boycott this agenda item, especially after the barbaric attacks on Gaza by Israel. Israel was compelled to respect the Geneva Conventions on protecting, as the occupying power, the civilians under its control. The Arab Group condemned the illegal settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. All measures taken by Israel in order to alter the geographic order of territories under its control were violations of international law.
Ethiopia, speaking on behalf of the African Group, reiterated its support to the recognition of the right to self-determination of the Palestinian people. Palestinians continued to be deprived of their inalienable rights. Israel had to abandon its settlement building policies and activities, which had vast negative consequences on the rights of the Palestinian people. The African Group was concerned about the situation of Palestinian prisoners in Israel.
Ireland commended the valued work by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in the region, and stressed that the rights of all people, included Palestinians and Israelis, had to be protected. Ireland was concerned about the high number of civilian casualties, and condemned the indiscriminate attacks by Israel that caused mass casualties. Ireland also condemned the firing of rockets by Hamas. Ireland was concerned about settlements and movement restrictions by Israel in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.
Venezuela categorically condemned the violations committed by the political and military elite of Israel in the Gaza Strip, which were war crimes. The warlike actions of Israel aimed to wipe out the Palestinian people and dispose them of their ancestral home. Israel heaped scorn on the Council’s actions on the subject and Venezuela urged the Council to call for an immediate cessation of the brutal blockade on Gaza. Criminal responsibility of those responsible for the genocidal aggression should be held accountable by international justice systems.
Saudi Arabia condemned the actions of Israel, including the recent violations in Gaza. The Security Council must identify a timeframe for the withdrawal of Israeli troops to the 1967 borders. Saudi Arabia said it saw that an increasing number of States were insisting on boycotting agenda item 7 and were calling for it to be moved into item 2 or 3, which was proof of double standards concerning Israel. Item 7 was a fundamental agenda item of the Council which would stand until Israeli occupation and impunity ended.
South Africa said the most recent flagrant violations of humanitarian law by Israel in Gaza could not continue with impunity. The situation in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, was deteriorating at an alarming rate. Those grave violations should be properly documented in order to ensure accountability on the part of the occupying power. South Africa, having emerged from the ashes of apartheid, could not conceivably be quiet in the face of discriminatory and dehumanizing practices being meted out on the Palestinian people by Israel.
Russian Federation hoped that the Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territories would show a balanced approach and called on Israel to support his upcoming visit to the region. Russia supported direct Israel-Palestine negotiations and was against unilateral actions by Israel which undermined the prospects of peace, including the expansion of settlements, the continuation of the building of the wall and the blockade of Gaza.
Indonesia expressed great concern and condemnation of the human rights violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territories which resulted from the prolonged occupation by Israel and was worried about the impact of the excessive and disproportionate use of force by Israel against Palestinians, including women and children. The Conference of High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention would ensure greater protection of the Palestinian people and the respect of the provisions of the Conventions.
Chile deplored the long lasting blockade of Gaza which had had disastrous humanitarian consequences for its entire population and was dismayed that the expansion of settlements continued in violation of the fundamental human rights of the Palestinian people.
Cuba said that Israeli authorities continued to commit serious human rights violations against Palestinians and to use disproportionate force causing a large number of civilian casualties. Israel’s goal seemed to be the annihilation of the Palestinian people. Cuba also called on Israel to withdraw from the Occupied Syrian Golan.
China deeply deplored the high number of civilian casualties in Gaza, and supported the creation of a fully sovereign Palestinian State, with East Jerusalem as its capital. China supported peace talks, and called on all parties to resolve the conflict through political means. China would continue to work with the international community for the establishment of a lasting peace in the region.
Maldives condemned the illegal occupation of Palestinian territories, and the human rights violations perpetrated by Israel. Maldives called on Israel to cease illegal settlements in the West Bank and lift their blockade of the Gaza Strip. Maldives condemned the high number of civilian casualties and called upon the international community to ensure that those responsible for war crimes were held accountable. Maldives finally called upon Israel to fully cooperate with the United Nations Commission of Inquiry.
United Arab Emirates said that Israel had a long record of violations of human rights and in complete disregard of United Nations resolutions. It was the only country that thought it was above the law and not responsible for the acts it committed. The United Arab Emirates hoped the Council would find a way to ensure respect for the rights of the Palestinian people. This agenda item had to be discussed because violations committed by Israel had reached unimaginable proportions.
Algeria expressed deep concern regarding the continued and deep violations of human rights in the Palestinian territories as well as other Arab occupied territories by the illegal practices of the occupying force. The aggression in Gaza had led to a humanitarian catastrophe. Infrastructure was destroyed, people were displaced, and even schools were not spared and were indiscriminately shelled. The perpetrators should not enjoy impunity and there should be rebuilding of the destruction that had occurred.
Brazil said that it hoped that Israel and Palestine would resume negotiations suspended last April, in a peace process with a broader participation from the international community. The end of the Israeli occupation was essential in order to end human rights violations in Palestine and to advance solutions for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The 1967 borders should be respected, in accordance with the United Nations Charter, Security Council Resolution 242, and other relevant decisions.
Kuwait condemned Israel’s persistent human rights violations in the occupied Palestinian territories, and especially its latest aggression in Gaza. Kuwait noted that the mandate of the Commission of Inquiry established this summer at a special session of the Council called for an immediate holding of the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention on the enforcement of that Convention in the occupied Palestinian territories, namely to protect civilians.
Mexico said the death toll, the number of injuries and the destruction of basic essential infrastructure from the recent violence in Gaza was unacceptable. Attacks against a civilian population, something which both parties were involved in, was contrary to international humanitarian law. Mexico urged States to look at the factors which led to the violence, and called on Israel to respect the Palestinian people’s right to self-determination and their economic, social and cultural rights. It commended the mediation efforts of Egypt, the United States and the Secretary-General which led to a ceasefire.
Peru said it robustly condemned Israel’s military incursion into Gaza and its disproportionate use of military force, as well as the indiscriminate firing of rockets by Palestine into Israel. Peru welcomed the appointment of the independent Commission of Inquiry. It also thanked the Swiss Government for setting in motion consultations with the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention on convening a conference.
Morocco called for the lifting of all obstacles and impediments that hampered the work of the Commission of Inquiry and Special Procedures to gather information and research violations in Occupied Palestinian Territories. Morocco condemned the aggression of Israel against the innocent civilians in Gaza which was contrary to all humanitarian norms and called on the Council and the international community to shoulder responsibility to put an end to this violation and find a permanent solution to the Israeli-Palestinian problem.
Qatar said that Israel had continued its savage practices against the people of Palestine in total disregard of international legality and wondered how it was possible for the world to continue to look at 51 days of attack on Gaza. Qatar urged Israel to open all points of passage so that the Commission of Inquiry could implement its mandate. Israel should be referred to the International Criminal Court for the actions it committed against the Palestinian people.
Egypt asked the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to provide all necessary assistance to the newly created Commission of Inquiry. Human rights violations suffered by the Palestinians and the humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip continued to deteriorate as a result of Israeli actions. The Palestinian people were defending their right to create an independent State with the capital in East Jerusalem. A firm approach by the international community was needed to put an end to this crisis.
Ecuador drew attention to the severe deterioration of the human rights situation in Gaza, a month after the cessation of hostilities. It was absolutely vital that the cessation of hostilities was followed by a commitment to sustained dialogue. Ecuador supported the creation of the Commission of Inquiry. It urged that, with a view to seeking a fair and peaceful solution, Israel honoured its commitments. The international community was invited to deploy greater efforts to address the humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip.
Turkey said that last summer a human tragedy unfolded in Gaza before the eyes of the international community. Yet another time, the international community had to pick up the pieces. This could not continue any longer. There was a need for further steps to make the ceasefire sustainable. Ending the blockade and lifting all restrictions on Gaza should be the main priority. Turkey would continue its efforts with international partners towards finding a just, comprehensive and lasting solution.
Iraq expressed solidarity with the Palestinian people and other Arab peoples under occupation. Iraq referred to the number of civilians as a result of the destruction of infrastructure in Gaza and the discriminative policies and siege by Israel. Having great armies with the latest lethal weapons and knowing how to use them did not mean that conscience and logic could be ignored. Iraq believed that there had to be an end to the occupation and to allow Palestine to become an independent State.
Iceland deplored the loss of civilian life and destruction of property in Gaza and called on all parties to cooperate with the new Commission of Inquiry because accountability and justice were the foundation for lasting peace. The occupation continued to violate the most basic human rights of Palestinians and the recent land confiscation in the West Bank, the largest in recent history, had been condemned by the international community.
Oman said that the Palestinian people had the right to life and dignity and this could not be a monopoly of one single nation; the Palestinian people did not enjoy those rights and they were not recognized by Israel. Agenda item 7 was a very important one as it referred to crimes against humanity which the international community had not yet punished. The policy of impunity must come to an end and all stakeholders should cooperate with the Special Rapporteur to aid him in fulfilling his tasks.
Bangladesh regretted the continuing non-cooperation of Israel with the mechanisms of the Human Rights Council and remained concerned about its gross and systematic human rights violations, including the excessive use of force. The oppressive occupation containing many oppressive elements was associated with the expansionist goals. Finally, Bangladesh supported the call for a meeting of the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention.
Jordan said that the suffering seen due to the recent Israeli aggression and the thousands of innocent lives lost could not be justified by any explanation. Israel was the first responsible for all those violations. An end had to be put to the occupation. It was up to the world, especially the Human Rights Council, to realize that the only means to guarantee that they did not witness flagrant violations of human rights in Palestine again was through a two-State solution in accordance with international instruments.
Switzerland deplored the recent conflict in Gaza with a particularly high number of civilian victims. It insisted on the need for an independent review of all allegations of violations of international law whoever the perpetrators were. Following the suspension of hostilities, Switzerland stressed the importance of a comprehensive agreement. The parties were called upon to return to the negotiating table. It was preoccupied by the great number of arrests and detentions of Palestinians by Israel, including minors.
Iran said that during the recent brutal attack by Israel against the Gaza Strip, 2,142 innocent Palestinians were killed. It had been revealed that grave and systematic violations of human rights and international humanitarian law violations had been committed by Israel. The Special Rapporteur had mentioned clearly that Israeli human rights violations potentially amounted to segregation and apartheid. The international community was called upon to take urgent action.
Malaysia condemned in the strongest terms the brutal Israeli military aggression against Gaza which resulted in 2,000 killed and urged Israel to demonstrate a minimum of respect for the international community by extending cooperation to the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Occupied Palestinian Territories. Israel’s violation of Palestinian human rights was one of the longest, most documented and unprecedented.
Sudan called upon the Human Rights Council to take all the necessary measures to shed light on the human rights violations by Israel and to bear pressure on Israel to put an end to those violations. Drawing a wall of silence to cover up the crimes of Israel in Palestine could further strengthen the resolve of Israel to continue with the violations.
Bahrain restated the importance of agenda item 7 and said it should be kept until the end of Israel’s occupation. The position of some countries to consider the human rights situation in Palestine under agenda item 4 only supported the position of Israel. Israel must respect its international commitments, including under the United Nations Charter, and stop using the anti-terrorist struggle as a pretext.
Lebanon said that the implicit boycott of item 7 adopted by some countries needed to be looked at. This item was on the agenda for a clear reason, because of the Israeli occupation, with all the implications that it had. The Israeli aggression against Gaza which had required a special session of the Council reflected again Israel’s flouting of human rights and international humanitarian law. The international community had to ensure an end to the human rights violations of the Palestinian people.
Senegal said the careful study of the report once again demonstrated the continued refusal by Israel to cooperate despite the very serious nature of the acts it was accused of. Senegal was concerned by the situation imposed on the Palestinian people, in disregard of all rules of international law and international humanitarian law. The Council should play its role fully through the Special Procedures, most importantly to ensure the respect of obligations in the area of human rights and show solidarity with all victims of the violations.
Sri Lanka said that it was deeply concerned at the tragic loss of life, including many Palestinian women and children, during the escalation of hostilities in the past few months. It welcomed the recent ceasefire. It urged all parties to engage constructively and sincerely to end the conflict and bring lasting peace. Sri Lanka had contributed $ 1 million to the Palestinian Authority for Gaza relief. Unilateral sanctions and the siege on Gaza had to be lifted. Sri Lanka called on all parties involved to refrain from indiscriminate and disproportionate actions.
Right of Reply
Qatar, speaking in a right of reply, said that it was shameful that Syria should launch allegations when Israeli’s violations against Palestine were discussed. Qatar had always attempted to settle problems. In Syria, what amounted to genocide was ongoing. Qataris were always working for promoting human rights and disseminating human and ethical values to preserve the dignity of humanity. Those who committed deaths had no shame.
Syria, speaking in a right of reply, said that those committing deaths in Syria had no shame and Qatar was an active participant in that, as the financer of armed groups and terrorism. Qatar handed out its millions to obtain the release of those abducted and this was simply financing of terrorism and was against the United Nations resolutions on payment of ransom. The United Nations should take all measures against those countries that supported and funded terrorism.
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