Le conseil des droits de l'homme organise un débat général sur les territoires arabes occupés - Communiqué de presse (extraits) Français
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HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL HOLDS GENERAL DEBATE ON OCCUPIED ARAB TERRITORIES
The Human Rights Council this morning held a general debate on the human rights situation in Palestine and other occupied Arab territories...
In the debate on the human rights situation in Palestine and other occupied Arab territories, Palestine and Syria spoke as concerned countries. Israel was not present in the room to take the floor.
Speakers said in the general debate that the issue of Palestine was at the core of the Middle East issue and that without a long-term solution there would be no peace or stability in the region, nor any guarantee of the human rights of the Palestinian people. The events currently unfolding in Palestine were of deep concern and delegations called on Israel to immediately stop the unlawful raids and release over 350 Palestinians unlawfully arrested in those raids. Speakers were also concerned about the consolidation of the Israeli policy of illegal settlements which negatively affected the peace process and put the two-State solution in jeopardy. Israel should dismantle settlements and put an end to the occupation. Several speakers said that the continued violations of rights of Palestinians by Israel in the full view of the international community confirmed the need for item 7 to remain on the agenda of the Human Rights Council. It was regrettable that some delegations had decided to cease their participation in this agenda item.
Speaking in the discussion were Ethiopia on behalf of the African Group, Pakistan on behalf of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, Iran on behalf of the Non Aligned Movement, Egypt on behalf of the Arab Group, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, China, Cuba, Morocco, Algeria, Maldives, Brazil on behalf of the India-Brazil-South Africa Dialogue Forum, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, Venezuela, Chile, South Africa, Namibia, Qatar, Egypt, Tunisia, Turkey, Ecuador, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Malaysia, Bahrain, Oman, Bangladesh, Jordan, Senegal, Lebanon, Yemen, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Libya, and El Salvador.
Also speaking were the following non-governmental organizations: BADIL Resource for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights, Action contre la faim, International Youth and Student Movement for the United Nations, International Association of Jewish Lawyers and Jurists, United Nations Watch, General Arab Women Federation, Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies, Al Mezan Centre for Human Rights, Organization for Defending Victims of Violence, Al-Haq Law in the Service of Man, Union of Arab Jurists, Commission on International Affairs of the World Council of Churches, European Union of Jewish Students, and International Muslim Women’s Union.
General Debate on the Human Rights Situation in Palestine and Other Occupied Arab Territories
Statements by the Concerned Countries
State of Palestine, speaking as a concerned country, extended thanks and appreciation to all the friendly countries which engaged on the question of human rights in occupied Palestine and other occupied Arab territories. They were talking of one of the worst forms of violations: occupation. The occupying power, Israel, had stolen the land and built settlements on Palestinian land. Such systematic widespread violations without deterrence encouraged parties to violate human rights. Israel had suspended its cooperation with the Council and had not presented its report under the Universal Periodic Review. It continued its grave violations against the Palestinian people, including the right to self-determination, demolition of houses and controlling natural resources, as well as air raids, bulldozing of land, and extra-judicial killings.
Syria, speaking as a concerned country, said that the occupation power, Israel, had been called upon to withdraw from the occupied territories. The United Nations had renewed its demand on Israel to comply with resolutions relating to the occupied Syrian Golan but Israel continued its aggressive behaviour and ignored United Nations resolutions. It had continued its oppression and killing of civilians, violating human rights in the field of occupation, education, health, nutrition, culture and social protection. Syrian detainees were being inhumanely treated in Israeli prisons, and this for more than 30 years. Israel was exploiting the difficult situation prevailing in the region and seeking to entrench its continued occupation of the territories, Judaise them and control their resources. Syria warned against measures taken by the Israeli occupation authorities in exploring for Syrian oil and leasing the land to explore the land for oil. Israel was using the situation in Syria as a distraction from its violations.
General Debate on the Human Rights Situation in Palestine and Other Occupied Arab Territories
Ethiopia, speaking on behalf of the African Group, said that throughout the decades of occupation, the world had continued to witness the systematic oppression and suffering of the people of the occupied Palestinian and Arab territories. The African Group expressed concern about the consolidation of the Israeli policy of illegal settlements which negatively affected the peace process; it was vital that Israel halt the construction of settlements, including in Jerusalem. The African Group was further concerned about the treatment of Palestinian prisoners and requested their immediate release, particularly of women and children.
Pakistan, speaking on behalf of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, said that the Human Rights Council so far had failed to ensure peace and security of the Palestinian people and called on all Member States to actively support the agenda item 7. The Organization of Islamic Cooperation was concerned about the new brutal campaign against Palestinians by Israel and strongly condemned the collective punishment of the Palestinian people. Israel continued to build the illegal wall in the State of Palestine in complete defiance of the international community and international law.
Iran, speaking on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, underscored the need to continue to provide political, economic and humanitarian assistance to the Palestinian people so that they could realize their aspirations. The Non-Aligned Movement deeply regretted that the Palestinian people continued to suffer from the ruthless occupation by Israel and continued to have their human rights violated, including the right to self-determination. The Non-Aligned Movement was deeply disappointed by the decision of some countries to cease participation in agenda item 7 and called on Israel, the occupying power, to fully respect the International Court of Justice advisory opinion.
Egypt, speaking on behalf of the Arab Group, regretted efforts to marginalise this agenda item, one of the main items on the agenda of the General Assembly. The Arab Group condemned Israeli violations of international humanitarian law, including the continued expansion of settlements, the destruction of property, as well as restrictions of movement across borders. The occupying authorities had carried out military operations, leading to the deliberate killing of Palestinians, including children, in violation of the Geneva Conventions. The Arab Group further condemned acts of violence in the occupied territories and called on Israel to end its blockade of the Gaza Strip.
Russia supported efforts towards direct negotiations between Palestine and Israel with a view towards a peaceful settlement, in accordance with international law, which would be agreeable to both parties. Russia welcomed the ratification of several instruments by the Palestinian Government, which illustrated its commitment to the promotion and protection of human rights; and reaffirmed its position concerning the indivisibility of the Palestinian territory. Russia opposed acts of violence undertaken by the Israeli Government, including its policy of colonization, and the blockade of Gaza.
Saudi Arabia said that the suffering of Palestine over the past decades due to Israeli transgressions had not been enough to persuade the European Union of the importance of this agenda item or stop them from addressing the issue under agenda item four. This move reflected efforts to marginalise the subject and to allow Israel to continue to breach international law. The Council should not accept any efforts to marginalise this item, as this would constitute a policy of impunity and double standards. Saudi Arabia condemned the occupation of the Palestinian territory. Jerusalem continued to be the subject of violations and they were seeing a flagrant attempt to change the legal status of its holy places.
Indonesia expressed grave concern about and condemnation of the human rights situation in Palestine, including grave violations of human rights, which derived from the prolonged occupation by Israel. Indonesia regretted that there seemed to be a concerted effort to undermine the works to address this issue and was dismayed by the situation of detention of more than 5,000 Palestinians in Israeli prisoners, a blatant violation of fundamental norms of international law. It was time to renew and recalibrate global efforts.
China said the issue of Palestine was at the core of the Middle East issue. Without a long-term solution there would be no peace or stability in the region, nor any guarantee of the human rights of the Palestinian people. China supported the Council’s continued attention to the situation in the occupied Palestinian territories, including East Jerusalem. It was hoped that the two concerned parties could overcome obstacles and move towards compromise to resume talks.
Cuba said that the human rights situation in the occupied Palestinian territories confirmed once again that the Israeli authorities continued to gravely violate international law in those territories. Israel continued to deprive the nation and people of Palestine of their basic rights, including their right to self-determination. International humanitarian law was being violated. The decisions of the Council had to be urgently implemented and this agenda item was particularly important. Israel had to comply with the recommendations of this forum.
Morocco said that the humanitarian situation in Palestine continued to worsen as a result of the occupation and Israel’s unilateral measures. Israel was preventing all initiatives aiming for a just and lasting peace and extended the violations of human rights also to the holy city of Jerusalem. Morocco condemned the new settlements on the West Bank and the violations, attacks and aggression of Israeli authorities targeting the believers and students. The quest for peace was the responsibility of the whole international community.
Algeria said that there had been an increase in suffering of the Palestinian people as a result of the Israeli occupation, blockade and expansion activities. Algeria condemned the blockade of the Gaza Strip and requested Israel to end it and also end violations of human rights of Palestinians. Algeria appealed to the international community to require that Israel respect the resolutions of the United Nations.
Maldives was deeply concerned about the events currently unfolding in Palestine and called on Israel to immediately stop the unlawful raids and arrests of the Palestinian people. Maldives strongly condemned the killing of two young men, including a 14-year-old child, by the Israeli forces on Friday and called for the release of over 350 Palestinians arrested unlawfully in recent days. Maldives was also concerned about the kidnapping of the three Israeli teenagers and hoped for their safe return.
Brazil, speaking on behalf of the India-Brazil-South Africa Dialogue Forum, expressed concern about Israel’s settlement expansion, including in East Jerusalem, which threatened the much desired two-State solution. The Forum called on Israel to dismantle and put an end to the occupation: this was not a concession, but an obligation under international law. They further called on Israel to lift the blockade on Gaza and facilitate cross-border movement. Conflicts could not be solved by force and the Forum, in this regard, condemned all acts of violence. The Forum had provided humanitarian assistance to the Palestinian people, including facilities to support persons with disabilities.
Kuwait recalled that in resolution 1268, from November 2013, the General Assembly had declared a year of solidarity with the Palestinian people, who were victims of an occupation leading to human rights violations. Kuwait expressed concern about acts of violence undertaken by extremist groups and the Israeli Government. Despite efforts by various groups to reach a peaceful solution to the conflict, Israel continued to pursue a policy of colonization that led to the deterioration of the situation. It was necessary to put an end to violence and ensure Palestinians’ right to self-determination.
United Arab Emirates recalled that the Council had taken measures in situations less severe than Palestine and did not see how delegations could refuse to allocate item 7, as it had been customarily done, to the Palestinian question and violations arising from the occupation. Renewing this item constituted recognition of the ongoing violations and there should be no pretexts to eliminate this item, as the violations described of suppression and prosecution had been proven by relevant non-governmental organizations and the United Nations. The elimination of the item would lead to impunity and hurt the Council’s credibility.
Venezuela fully supported the inalienable right to self-determination of the Palestinian people. The settlements and other Israeli activities in the occupied territories were illegal pursuant to international law. Despite all the United Nations resolutions and the requirements put forward by a majority of States to end the occupation, the occupying power had ignored calls to dialogue and peace. Israel was trying to wipe out the history of the Palestinian people and had used utter brutality to do that.
Chile reiterated the need to put an end to the acts of violence and economic hardship of the Palestinian people and deplored the Gaza blockade and its continuation over time, with very serious humanitarian consequences for the Palestinian people. The United Nations system and civil society for decades had been rejecting and condemning the unlawfulness of Israel’s settlement policy. Chile called for a cessation of all activities of expanding the settlements that were violating the fundamental human rights of the Palestinian people.
South Africa remained deeply concerned about the ongoing Israeli settlement expansion, including in East Jerusalem. South Africa had consistently called on Israel to abandon all settlement expansion. The continuation of settlement construction was seen not only as a violation of international law and relevant United Nations resolutions, but also as a violation of a commitment already agreed to by Israel during peace negotiations, including at the 2007 Annapolis International Middle East Peace Conference in which South Africa had participated.
Namibia remained concerned about the stalemate in talks between Palestine and Israel and called on the international community to pressure Israel to allow the Palestinian people to exercise their right to self-determination and the right to their land. The international community must assist the Palestinian people to achieve statehood. 2014 had been proclaimed an International Year of Solidarity with the Palestinian People and this was an opportunity to resolve this unacceptable situation.
Qatar condemned the nomination of Israel as Vice Chair to the United Nations Special Political and Decolonization Committee, as Israel was the only colonial State in the world which continued to occupy territories by force of arms. The international community had an ethical and legal responsibility to ensure the lifting of the siege of Gaza and allow the 1.7 million Gaza residents to live in dignity. The continuing settlement activities must be halted as they undermined the peace process.
Egypt said that the illegitimate practices of Israel in the West Bank and other occupied territories continued and called on the international community to put an end to settlements in the West Bank. Egypt called on Israel to release political prisoners, particularly children, and also called on the international community to support the Palestinian people to restore their legitimate items.
Tunisia said that thousands of Palestinians were in Israeli prisons, many of them had been held for over 20 years: they looked at the Council and the international community to put an end to their suffering. The Working Group on arbitrary detention should be giving this issue particular attention. As 2014 was the year of solidarity with the Palestinian people, Tunisia called on this Council to take action. The occupying force had committed crimes against humanity and war crimes. Israel should respect Palestinians’ rights and all principles of international law.
Turkey said that while the international community celebrated the international year of solidarity with the Palestinian people, the historical injustice and continuing violations of the Palestinian people persisted. The prolonged occupation and the persistent violations of the Fourth Geneva Convention and its additional protocol lay at the heart of abysmal human rights violations. The situation of Palestinian prisoners was another major source of concern and Turkey urged Israel to fulfil its legal obligations to Palestinian civilians and all prisoners and detainees illegally held.
Ecuador reiterated its faithful commitment to the Palestinian people and the creation of an independent and sovereign Palestinian State. Ecuador appealed to the United Nations to ensure the implementation of General Assembly resolution 181, which remained unfulfilled, and urged States that held Security Council veto rights to reconsider their position. There would be no peace in the Middle East without the settlement of the Palestinian issue. Ecuador called on Israel to fulfil its commitments under human rights instruments. Ecuador condemned the building of a separation wall and Israel’s settlement policy.
Sri Lanka remained deeply concerned about the situation of the Palestinian people whose socio-economic well-being continued to be affected. The persistence of the situation would further deteriorate the livelihoods and economic sustainability of the Palestinian people which would particularly affect women and children. An end to the Gaza blockade and Israel’s settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories and the release of more Palestinian detainees would help reduce the mistrust and bitterness between the Israeli and Palestinian peoples.
Sudan said that Israel continued its policies that ran counter to all humanitarian law, represented in arbitrary detention, coercive and forced detention, imposition of a blockade, settlement expansion, and the building of the wall despite the International Court of Justice’s Opinion. Sudan also expressed concern vis-à-vis the situation of the occupied Syrian Arab Golan and the need to put an end to this illegal occupation, which was in violation of all resolutions and the United Nations Charter.
Malaysia said it was troubling to observe the continued politicization, polarization, selectivity and double standards on this issue, apparent by the actions of certain countries not to consider or to participate in the deliberations under this item. It was ironic and even mindboggling that after 47 years of proven and continued atrocious and cruel human rights violations against an entire people and nation, some countries held the view that the human rights situation in Palestinian and other Arab territories did not deserve the attention and concern of the international community.
Bahrain commended the ascension of Palestine to 15 human rights international treaties and confirmed that the agenda item on the human rights situation in Palestine and other occupied Arab territories must remain on the agenda of the Human Rights Council until the end of the occupation. Bahrain condemned the Israeli violations in the Syrian Golan and called on Israel to comply with the relevant legal obligations and put an end to the occupation of Palestine and other occupied Arab territories.
Oman reiterated that the continued violations of the rights of Palestinians by Israel in the full view of the international community confirmed the need for agenda item 7 on the human rights situation in Palestine and other occupied Arab territories. The self-determination of the Palestinian people must be supported by the international community so that both sides could live in peace and security. Israel should withdraw from all occupied territories so that peace could be reached and human rights standards ensured.
Bangladesh said that Palestinians were terrorised by intimidation and harassment. Recent raids on Palestinian houses in the occupied West Bank and arbitrary arrests, detentions, and killings were contrary to the Geneva Conventions and other norms of international law. The international community must stop Israel from continuing with these atrocities. A lasting and viable peace in the region could not be achieved until the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people were recognized and Israeli occupation forces withdrew from the occupied territory.
Jordan said that Israel continued its violation of human rights, including collective punishment imposed on the Palestinian people as a response to the missing settlers in the West Bank. The policy to Judaize, the demolition of houses, and attacks on religious sites illustrated the refusal of the occupation to comply with international norms and obligations. Jordan expressed support for the Palestinian people and it would face all Israeli violations, calling on the international community to address Israel’s violations which constituted a threat to international security.
Senegal saw increased tension in Jerusalem and the deterioration of living conditions in the Gaza Strip as a result of the blockade, and called for a cessation and dismantling of settlements and the resumption of negotiations. Senegal expressed support for the aspiration for an independent Palestinian State with secure borders alongside Israel and called for the immediate cessation of violent acts. Senegal also called on all parties to show restraint and on the international community to make the peace process a priority.
Lebanon said that Israel continued its policy of fait accompli through its settlement policy and attempts to change the status of Jerusalem, as well as through the construction of the separation wall. Lebanon requested the international community to ensure the end of violations and occupation, respect for the right of self-determination for the Palestinians, the right of return of Palestinian refugees and the release of detainees. Human rights violations continued in the occupied Syrian Golan and Lebanon called on the Council and the international community to put pressure to bear on Israel and ensure the credibility of international mechanisms.
Yemen confirmed the importance of item 7 on the human rights situation in Palestine and other occupied Arab. The Council was requested to pay particular attention to this item as long as the occupation continued, and to take measures that would oblige Israel to cease its suppression and torture. Yemen called for an end to the occupation of all the occupied territories and condemned all measures taken by Israel to change the legal, physical and demographic situation and considered them as null and void, in parallel with the Fourth Geneva Convention.
Democratic People's Republic of Korea said the deteriorating human rights situation in the occupied Palestinian territories, resulting in further suffering and misery of millions of Palestinians, including women, children and the elderly, continued to be of grave concern to the international community. It condemned all unilateral and unlawful measures by Israel aimed at changing the status and demographic composition of the occupied Palestinian territories. Violations carried out by Israel in the occupied Syrian Golan remained another grave concern.
Libya said Israel continued to breach the human rights of unarmed Palestinians and pursue its policy of ethnic cleansing. It was also committing other systematic violations and had imposed an unjust siege on the Gaza Strip, which had led to a deterioration of the situation and the increased suffering of Palestinians, especially women and children. Israel persisted in its refusal of all resolutions that reaffirmed the right of the Palestinians to self-determination and despite many calls to halt all measures to Judaise Jerusalem, it pursued its activities.
El Salvador had demonstrated its support for the peace process which would allow Israel and Palestine to achieve a peaceful solution. As a country which promoted and respected multilateralism, El Salvador supported the stronger involvement of the United Nations and the measures under Chapter VI of its Charter. Both parties should renew the dialogue in the search for a lasting peace and the international community should assist the Palestinian people in the realization of their right to self-determination.
BADIL Resource for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights condemned the holding in Israeli prisons of approximately 5,000 Palestinian hostages, among them children, women and the elderly. In response to the April hunger strike by about 100 administrative detainees, held in continued detention without charge or trial, Israel was considering a force feeding bill. Force feeding was considered torture, including by the Convention against Torture; if passed into legislation, this bill would provide Israel with a legislative foundation for torture on an industrial scale.
Action contre la faim said that the prolonged occupation of Palestinian territory and adverse policies and practices of the occupying power had generated engrained levels of water scarcity, food insecurity, dependence on humanitarian relief and a chronic state of emergency. The situation in the Gaza Strip remained of concern with 57 per cent of households food insecure and crippled by the cost, quality and availability of water for irrigation and domestic use.
International Youth and Student Movement for the United Nations said Israeli military forces were running throughout the occupied Palestinian territories and making life unbearable for the Palestinian population. Israel was guilty of war crimes and violating the whole fabric of international law. Member States had weakened their resolve to put pressure on Israel to respect international law and end its legal occupation.
International Association of Jewish Lawyers and Jurists said that while the debate was dedicated to the occupied Palestinian territories, it was impossible to focus on such issues in light of recent events: the kidnapping of three Israeli teenagers by Palestinian terrorists and the killing of a 13-year old Israeli Arab boy by a guided missile fired by Syrian forces across the border. President Abbas had denounced the kidnapping but sill preserved the Government’s union with Hamas, an organization that had praised the kidnapping of these children and continued to fire rockets at Israeli towns.
United Nations Watch allowed Rachel Frankel, mother of one of the teenage students kidnapped on their way home from school, to share her experience and express gratitude for the prayers and support pouring from around the world. Ms. Frankel thanked the United Nations Secretary-General for condemning the abduction and call for the immediate release of the boys. Ms. Frankel also thanked the International Red Cross for stating clearly that international humanitarian law prohibited the taking of hostages and for demanding the immediate and unconditional release of the boys.
General Arab Women Federation, in a joint statement, said little had made as many headlines as the alleged kidnapping of three Israeli teenagers living inside illegal settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories. It was difficult to ignore the apparent discrepancy between these outcries and the continuing half-hearted lip service paid over years towards the suffering of an entirely kidnapped Palestinian society.
Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies remained especially concerned by the hundreds of Palestinians administratively detained by Israel without being charged, a dozen of whom currently were on a hunger strike and who may face forced feeding if the legislative amendment on force-feeding was passed before the Israeli Knesset.
Al Mezan Centre for Human Rights stressed the urgency of the situation in the Gaza Strip and requested action by the Human Rights Council. The Gaza blockade was a gross violation of human rights and the population was faced with the denial of basic services and infrastructure. Such restrictions amounted to a form of collective punishment.
Organization for Defending Victims of Violence said that the construction of Israeli settlements was illegal and despite all efforts by the international community, Israel still defied the international will and continued to illegally construct the wall as well as settlements. The United Nations and the international community should have a more active approach to solve this long lasting problem.
Al-Haq Law in the Service of Man said that the recent killings of Palestinians had taken place as part of a large-scale highly intrusive investigation which was taking the form of collective punishment in reprisal for the missing settlers. Member States should take strong action to ensure that the search for the three settlers was no longer used as a pretext to kill, arrest, torture and infringe on the rights of Palestinians.
Union of Arab Jurists said that the 34 year-long occupation of the Syrian Golan was illegal and since last February, the construction of illegal settlements had been continuing. Those acts were violations of international law and required the international community to ensure that the rule of the jungle did not prevail in the world.
Commission on International Affairs of the World Council of Churches expressed concern about the effects of the Israeli occupation, in particular the growing trend of heavy military presence nearby schools. Depriving children of the right to education was not only a human concern and a breach of international law, but an obstacle to the building of a viable and healthy future for Palestinians. The Commission called on Israel to cease all military activities and presence around schools, facilitate children’s access to education and ensure their safety during their commute.
European Union of Jewish Students noted that Israel was the focus of about a third of the Council’s resolutions, making it the most condemned country and the only one with a single agenda item dedicated to it. Israel therefore received more attention than Syria and Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, where grave human rights violations were taking place. Why were States disproportionately dealing with Israel given the limited time available for addressing human rights violations around the world? The Union also expressed concern about the recent kidnapping of three Jewish boys.
International Muslim Women’s Union said after decades of futile diplomacy and disregarded United Nations resolutions, the General Assembly had finally decided to designate 2014 as the international year of solidarity with the Palestinian people. While Israel blinded the world with an alleged readiness to make “painful compromises”, it expanded settlements, accelerated demolitions and increased the number of Palestinians held in administrative detention, while the international community stood aside and carefully expressed its slight “disappointment”.
For use of the information media; not an official record