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
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COUNCIL CONTINUES GENERAL DEBATE ON THE HUMAN RIGHTS SITUATION IN PALESTINE AND OTHER OCCUPIED ARAB TERRITORIES
Hears Address by Commissioner for Human Rights, Humanitarian Action and Relations with Civil Society of Mauritania
23 September 2013
The Human Rights Council this afternoon continued its general debate on the human rights situation in Palestine and other Occupied Arab Territories.
In the general debate on the human rights situation in Palestine and other Occupied Arab Territories, speakers overwhelmingly endorsed the findings of the Secretary-General’s report. The catalogue of human rights violations allegedly perpetrated by Israel against the people of Palestine, including such measures as the blockade of Gaza and the construction of the Separation Wall, as well as the apparent culture and climate of impunity afforded to Israel in the face of breaches of international law, were roundly condemned. Many speakers also deplored Israel’s non-cooperation with the Human Rights Council. Speakers welcomed recent efforts to revive peace talks between Israel and Palestine. Other speakers asked the Council why it did not address attacks that had occurred in other countries recently, like the chemical weapon attack in Syria and the killing of more than 600 persons in Egypt in August. They regretted that the item currently under discussion was the only one to concern a single country.
Speaking in the discussion were Maldives, Libya, Chile, Angola, Mauritania, Egypt, Turkey, Tunisia, Algeria, the Russian Federation, Morocco, China, Iraq, Iran, Cuba, South Africa, Jordan, Lebanon, Bahrain, Oman, Bangladesh, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Senegal, Mexico and Sri Lanka.
The following non-governmental organizations also spoke: the Independent Commission for Human Rights of Palestine; International Association of Jewish Lawyers and Jurists; International Organization for the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination; Cairo Institute for human Rights Studies; International Youth and Student Movement for the United Nations; Union of Arab Jurists; United Nations Watch; BADIL Resource Centre for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights; Maarij Foundation for Peace and Development; Family Planning Association I. R. Iran; General Arab Women Federation; Coordinating Board of Jewish Organizations; Organization for Defending Victims of Violence; Al Haq Law in the Service of Man; Society of Iranian Women Advocating Sustainable Development of the Environment; Islamic Women’s Institute of Iran; Africa Culture Internationale; and Prevention Association of Social Harms.
The general debate on the human rights situation in Palestine and other Occupied Arab Territories started this morning and a summary of the statements made can be found here.
At 5 p.m., the Council went into a private meeting to discuss its Complaint Procedure. The Council will resume its work on Tuesday, 24 September, at 9 a.m. to conclude the general debate on the human rights situation in Palestine and other Occupied Arab Territories and then to hold a general debate on follow-up to and implementation of the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action.
General Debate on the Human Rights Situation in Palestine and Other Occupied Arab Territories
Maldives condemned the systematic and gross violations of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people by Israel, the occupying power, in a climate and culture of impunity. Maldives was also appalled by individual cases of the use of force by the Israeli Defence Forces resulting in the death and injury of women and children. Maldives called upon Israel to freeze illegal settlements, dismantle the Separation Wall, and end the occupation.
Libya said that for over six decades the peaceful people of Palestine had suffered untold assaults on their rights. These crimes had been committed as a result of the complacency of the international community. The continued “Judification” of East Jerusalem was among these crimes. Israel could not stand above international law and the Security Council had to enforce its resolutions against it.
Chile restated its opposition to the ongoing violence and violations of human rights perpetrated against the Palestinian people, including the Gaza blockade. The Occupying Force had the obligation to protect the civilians therein, particularly prisoners and children. Chile called for a complete halt to Israeli settlements and the blockade of Gaza, and the immediate resumption of peace talks between all parties.
Angola welcomed the intense diplomatic efforts made over the last few months which had led to the resumption of direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority in the framework of the Middle East peace process which would set clear parameters and a time frame for the continuation of the process and the convening of a ministerial meeting of the Quartet. The Israeli and Palestinian authorities were invited to resolutely engage in the search for durable peace. Angola’s solidarity and support for the Palestinian cause was reiterated.
Mauritania denounced the systematic violence carried out by Israel against the Palestinian people. It condemned the policy of fait accompli by Israel through settlement building, the blockade, the destruction of homes and the construction of the separation barrier, among others. Mauritania recalled that the International Court of Justice had said that the construction of the wall was illegal and called for its destruction, but Israel continued these activities in defiance of international law and the will of the international community.
Egypt said that in spite of progress achieved since the establishment of the United Nations and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the international community seemed unable to achieve full compliance of the principle of equality, particularly the right to self-determination. There was no doubt that the continuation of the occupation of Palestinian land and the denial of their right to self-determination continued to be a violation of human rights. Israel bragged that it was the only democracy in the Middle East, yet it continued to occupy the lands of others.
Turkey said the Secretary-General’s report once again registered grave violations against the Palestinian people. The restrictions placed on Gaza were counterproductive and constituted collective punishment. The expansionist policy of settlements was a threat to the two-State solution and the impunity conferred to the settlers had to end. There was a compelling moral case to highlight the agonies suffered by Palestinian prisoners in particular.
Tunisia said the discriminatory laws enforced systematically by Israel against the Palestinians were reminiscent of South African apartheid. Tunisia had many times called on the Human Rights Council to end these violations in an effective way. The institutionalisation of racial discrimination was becoming worse: 29 draft laws were presently in front of the Knesset.
Algeria said that the discussion of the situation of human rights in Palestine and the occupied territories was ever ongoing. In this respect the international community had to step up its efforts to urge Israel to live up to its obligations under international humanitarian and human rights law. Its colonial aims with respect to the blockade of Gaza were to be deplored.
Russia remained a fundamental supporter of a political and diplomatic solution to the conflict. It was extremely important not to allow an escalation of the confrontation between the two parties and Russia supported the resumption of talks. Russia opposed unilateral military action by Israel, as well as settlement building, bans on movement, and the blockade, among others. There was a need for all concerned parties to implement United Nations resolutions, including those of the Council.
Morocco recorded with grave concern the violations and serious practices that continued by the Israeli authorities against international law, international humanitarian law and international human rights law. Morocco strongly condemned the ongoing suffering and plethora of aggressions against the Palestinian people. It denounced plans to “Judaise” Jerusalem and change its features, undermining its Islamic character. Morocco shared the grave concern regarding recurring violations mentioned in the report of the Secretary-General.
China said it supported the Council’s continued attention to the human rights situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, including East Jerusalem. China had always maintained that Palestine and Israel should conduct peace talks to establish an independent Palestinian State, with full sovereignty, in order to realize peaceful coexistence between Israel and Palestine and promote stability and peace in the Middle East. China supported the just cause of the Palestinians to restore their national legitimate rights.
Iraq said that the report documented grave and systematic human rights violations carried out by the occupying power, Israel. Those were punitive measures imposed by the occupying power on the Palestinian population, including the destruction of homes and the forcible transfers of Palestinians in East Jerusalem. Iraq condemned the violations committed by Israel and its non-cooperation with the United Nations. The change of the demographic nature of parts of Palestine was unacceptable. The Council should ensure that justice prevailed for the Palestinian people.
Iran shared the concerns expressed in the Secretary-General’s report, including the forced evictions and destruction of homes. Iran regretted the non-cooperation of Israel with the Council and its mechanisms. The detention of children was a flagrant violation of international law. The continued occupation remained the main obstacle to the full enjoyment of human rights of the Palestinian people. The only solution was to put an end to the occupation.
Cuba said that the Israeli authorities continued to commit grave human rights violations in the occupied Palestinian territories. The non-compliance of Israel with its basic international obligations was worrying. The many violations mentioned in the report, including arbitrary detentions, forcible transfers and the lack of accountability, showed that Israel continued to violate international law. The Council’s recommendations should be implemented now. A just and peaceful solution had to be found.
South Africa said the Israeli-Palestinian conflict remained an urgent issue for the international community and its resolution was more important than ever. South Africa urged Israel to provide Palestinian communities with adequate housing and water, to end the blockade of Gaza and to observe its international obligations in the face of international condemnation. South Africa continued to support the two-State solution and hoped recent efforts to revive talks toward this end would meet success.
Jordan said that Israel continued its practices and policies to the detriment of the rights of Palestinians, all which flew in the face of international humanitarian law and human rights laws. Israel had to implement the resolutions to which it was obliged. Jordan said it had concluded agreements with the Palestinian Authority to ensure the defence of Jerusalem’s holy sites.
Lebanon affirmed the centrality of this item in the agenda of both the Security Council and the Human Rights Council until the occupation by Israel came to an end. The Separation Wall was an illegal structure which had to be removed immediately under Israel’s obligations as an occupying power. The international community had to compel Israel to recognise the human rights of the Palestinian people and end its abuses against them.
Bahrain said the rights of children in the occupied Palestinian territories had suffered greatly since the beginning of the intifada. Around 220 children were still held in prison. Children were deprived of their very childhood. They were children that were both physically and psychologically tortured, their confessions forcibly extracted. In the occupied Syrian Golan children had also been the victims of such violations at the hand of Israel which did not respect the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Oman said that the Palestinian cause continued to be a living image which embodied flagrant violations of human rights. The need for the peace process to create an independent Palestinian State was highlighted. The occupying State continued to confiscate land and to demolish homes while creating settlements, which ran counter to international resolutions. This was an obstacle to the continuation of the peace process and the international community had to find a way out of this. The creation of the barrier enhanced the suffering of the Palestinian people.
Bangladesh reiterated its unequivocal support to Palestine and its people. Bangladesh was concerned about the grave human rights situation in Gaza caused by the Israeli blockade, as well as by incidents such as indiscriminate shooting, denial of access to agricultural lands and other areas, restriction on freedom of movement of Palestinians and on imports and exports to and from Gaza, and settler violence, among others. The Council had to unequivocally condemn these acts. There was also concern at the continued occupation of the Syrian Golan by Israel.
Saudi Arabia said that the continuation of Israeli occupation despite all United Nations resolutions was a scar on humanity’s conscience. Palestinians had the inalienable right to self-determination. Israel was a “heinous and racist entity” that had built an “apartheid wall”. The Jewish settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories were in contradiction with international humanitarian law. The right to a fair trial and to legal counsel was systematically denied to Palestinian prisoners.
Yemen said that the situation of the Palestinian people under occupation was tragic. Murders and arbitrary detentions were committed every day and illegal settlements were built. The systematic policy of settlement building was an act of provocation that undermined all efforts of the international community to find a peaceful solution. Negotiations towards a just and lasting peace were needed.
Senegal said that the human rights situation in the occupied Palestinian territory was worrying. The description of the situation in the Secretary-General’s report provided more information on the need to put an end to the occupation. In accordance with its mandate, the Council should continue to play its role to the fullest. Everything must be done for the Palestinians to recover their inalienable rights.
Mexico said it was concerned about the ongoing situation in Palestine, including the expansion of settlements and the illegal acquisition of land. Mexico supported the two-State solution as had been laid out in various Security Council resolutions and hoped that there would be a positive result from the recent revival of talks between Israel and Palestine. Mexico condemned violence committed by both sides in this conflict.
Sri Lanka said the blockade of Gaza continued to place restrictions on the movement of ordinary Palestinians which hampered their economic stability. The adverse effects of this on women and children were of particular concern. Sri Lanka urged Israel to lift these restrictions within the framework of Security Council resolution 1860. Sri Lanka supported the struggle of the people of Palestine to achieve statehood coexisting in peace and dignity alongside Israel.
The Independent Commission for Human Rights of Palestine said via a video message that Israel’s siege of Gaza and restrictions of movement around the occupied territories were a flagrant violation of human rights and constituted a form of collective punishment. From it flowed the inability of the Palestinian Authority to fight poverty and unemployment, and provide public services to its people, particularly with respect to the functioning of hospitals and health establishments. The blockade prevented patients from seeking treatment in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
International Association of Jewish Lawyers and Jurists was of the view that the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East posed an obstacle to peace talks between the Israeli Government and the Palestinian Authority. By preserving the refugee status of millions of Palestinians, it undermined its mandate and diminished the human rights situation of the Palestinians.
International Organization for the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination in a joint statement said the number of United Nations resolutions and statistics that condemned, deplored and rejected the Israeli violations over the decades was uncountable. It was past time to progress beyond words to action and the time was ripe for international and European governing bodies to play the role of enforcer and to sanction Israel.
Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies was seriously concerned by the ongoing expansion of Israeli illegal settlements leading to the destruction of Palestinian homes and to the eviction and displacement of many Palestinians, and welcomed any initiative aimed at curbing and stopping this expansion. The chronic, long term and severe nature of violations taking place in the Occupied Palestinian Territories required the maintenance of Agenda Item 7.
International Youth and Student Movement for the UN said that Israel was escalating its assault against the whole fabric of international law, even to the extent of brutalising European Union diplomats on a humanitarian mission. Israel blatantly defied all human rights efforts of the United Nations with regard to Palestine. Nonetheless, Israel was rewarded with cooperation by many countries, which in practice only encouraged Israel’s policy of occupation.
Union of Arab Jurists, in a joint statement, said that occupation was the worst form of human rights violation. The United Nations adopted resolutions concerning the occupied Palestinian territories and the occupied Golan every year. Violations of international human rights occurred every day in Palestine and in the occupied Golan. Israel had built illegal settlements and treated prisoners in an inhuman way. In addition, Israel was trying to change the demographic nature of Palestine.
United Nations Watch asked the Council why it did not address other attacks that had occurred in other countries recently, like the chemical weapon attack in Syria and the killing of more than 600 persons in Egypt in August. United Nations Watch regretted that the item currently under discussion was the only one to concern a single country.
BADIL Resource Centre for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights said that Israel did not simply seek domination of the Palestinian people but their forcible displacement. It was important to seek solutions with a rights-based approach. In this light, the Israeli policy of settlements was a systematic breach of international humanitarian law and human rights law and amounted to a form of colonisation.
Maarij Foundation for Peace and Development said it awaited the day when the rights of the Palestinian people would be restored by the usurpers. Israel was an occupying State and the Fourth Geneva Protocol applied to it; however Israel continued to flagrantly breach international law. The settlements must be dismantled.
Family Planning Association I. R. Iran said the Israeli Defence Forces had committed a litany of human rights violations against the Palestinian people, and highlighted the killing of 290 Palestinians in 2012, the Gaza blockade and the ongoing settlement programme; these were just the tip of the iceberg with respect to Israel’s behaviour.
General Arab Women Federation said that for more than two and a half years Syria had been facing a barbarous war. The crisis began with peaceful demonstrations which then transformed into a media war based on disinformation carried out by several countries. The Association called for a stopping of the flow of weapons to all parties to the conflict and for the encouragement of dialogue for a peaceful solution.
Coordinating Board of Jewish Organizations said the Council continued its obsessional focus on the Occupied Palestinian Territories, even though the inhabitants of these territories enjoyed more security than some of their Arab compatriots in neighbouring countries. When would the Council realize that by keeping this item on its agenda it was doing little or nothing to help the Palestinian population on the ground?
Organization for Defending Victims of Violence said human rights violation cases against Palestinians in the Occupied Territories rose in number each year. It called upon international organizations and institutions, while condemning the cases of blatant violations of human rights committed by Israel, to facilitate prevention solutions and show legal and international reaction towards Israel’s grave violations of human rights.
Al-Haq, Law in the Service of Man said that hundreds of residents of Masafer Yatta, an area that comprised 12 Palestinian villages in southern West Bank, were at risk of forcible evictions. This case showed the systematic effort to evict Palestinian communities from their land, carried out through persistent policies and practices of land confiscation and appropriation of natural resources. The Council should urge Israel to halt the displacement and to abide by its international obligations.
Society of Iranian Women Advocating Sustainable Development of Environment said that the policies of settlement expansion in the West Bank included many dangerous consequences, including ecological ones. The right to access to drinking water was one of the rights violated by Israel. Eighty per cent of the water network of Gaza contained unsafe water. Immediate measures were needed to address this problem.
Islamic Women’s Institute of Iran said that the demolition of homes and travel restrictions had affected Palestinian women. The situation of Palestinian women in captivity was very bad. Palestinian children’s conditions were even worse. Five thousand children had been injured and about 1,500 killed as a direct result of Israeli forces and settlers’ attacks.
Africa Culture Internationale condemned the situation in Palestine. Fifty-one members of the European Parliament had signed a motion to implement an embargo on Israeli goods that had been produced on stolen Palestinian land. The death penalty should be considered against the perpetrators of human rights violations against the Palestinian people.
Prevention Association of Social Harms said Israel’s activities in the occupied territories had failed to comply with the Convention on the Rights of the Child, to which it was a State party. The fact that Israel was allowed to go on in this manner undermined the Convention on the Rights of the Child and showed Israel’s lack of respect for human rights.
For use of the information media; not an official record