On March 18th 2013, The Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS) delivered an oral intervention on human rights violations in the occupied Palestinian territories, before the United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC), whose 22nd session is currently convened in Geneva and will continue until March 22.
United Nations Human Rights Council: 22nd Session
Item 7: General Debate – the Human Rights Situation in Palestine and other occupied Arab territories
Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS)
18 March, 2013
Delivered by: Paola Daher
The Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies welcomes the report of the independent international fact finding mission to investigate the implications of the Israeli settlements on the civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights of the Palestinian people throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem.
CIHRS is extremely concerned by the rapid growth rate of settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem as well as by plans to further expand settlements. As confirmed by the fact finding mission’s report before this Council, settlements constitute a violation of the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination and must be treated as such.
We remain extremely concerned by the key role played by businesses and international commercial trade in enabling the construction and expansion of settlements. Businesses, according to the report of the Fact Finding Mission, have, directly and indirectly, enabled, facilitated and profited from the construction and growth of illegal settlements, violating not only Palestinian workers’ rights, but also participating in the construction of the settlements and facilitating surveillance of Palestinians.
CIHRS deplores the absence of response from the Israeli government following the five requests for cooperation sent by the fact finding mission. This lack of collaboration with the fact finding mission, coupled with the Israeli’s unilateral decision to cease collaboration with the Human Rights Council (HRC) and the Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights (OHCHR) in Geneva and Jerusalem, sets a dangerous and worrisome precedent of non-cooperation with international human rights mechanisms which undermines the whole UN system.
We therefore call on the President of the HRC to exhaust all means to ensure that Israel resumes its collaboration with the HRC and the OHCHR as soon as possible. We further call member states to fulfill their legal obligations with regards to Israel’s breaches of peremptory norms. This includes ensuring that Israel complies with article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention and cease all settlement activities without preconditions, as well as withdraw all settlers from the OPTs and ensure adequate, effective remedies to victims.
We also call on the international community and governments to create and implement norms that would regulate the business activity of companies to make them compliant with international human rights standards, refrain from and ban trade with Israeli settlements, and ensure the traceability of goods produced in these settlements.
Lastly, in light of the recent recognition of Palestine as a state by the UN, we call on the Palestinian government to immediately and unconditionally sign onto all international human rights treaties, and express its intention to accede and ratify these treaties as soon as possible.
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