In a statement delivered by the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS) on 19 June 2017 under Agenda Item 7 at the UN Human Rights Council (HRC), UN Member States were urged to immediately stop Israel’s continuous efforts to divert attention from its systematic violation of international law committed in the occupied Palestinian territory (OPT) throughout 50 years of Israeli military occupation of Palestinian territory. This statement was addressed jointly with Palestinian partners Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association, Al-Haq, Al Mezan Center for Human Rights, and Community Action Center of Al-Quds University.
The statement further warned UN Member States of Israeli and other states’ attempts to undermine the legitimacy of dialogue regarding the issue of prolonged occupation and violations to international law under a separate agenda item in the HRC sessions. The statement recalled that Agenda Item 7, which discusses the five-decade long denial of rights and the profound suffering of Palestinians, is particularly essential at a time when violations of international human rights and humanitarian law are only increasing, with Israeli occupation policies of dispossession and oppression seeming to have no end in sight.
These grave violations are cemented by the prevailing culture of impunity in Israel, and the systematic failure of the domestic judicial mechanisms to investigate and offer remedies for the victims of abuse. The statement also highlighted the alarming deterioration of the human rights situation in East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip, where Israeli policies of extra-judicial killing and collective punishment are causing an ever-worsening humanitarian crisis with civilian lives lost daily. CIHRS and its partners also condemned the policies of arbitrary detention, torture, and repression that represent reality for the Palestinian civilian population.
During the ongoing HRC session, UN Member States discussed the Comprehensive Review Report published by the Office of High Commission of Human Rights (OHCHR). The report was pursuant to resolution A/HRC/31/L.38, ” Ensuring accountability and justice for all violations of international law in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem,” in response to Israel’s systematic failure to implement the recommendations of UN human rights bodies and agencies.
Earlier this month, CIHRS along with its partners, Al Mezan Center for Human Rights, The Community Action Center of Al-Quds University, and Medical Aid for Palestinians, addressed an open-letter to the High Commissioner to ensure that the report reflects the reality of prevailing impunity in the OPT, and addresses real solutions to ensure Israeli compliance with international law obligations.
CIHRS and its partners concluded their statement to the UN by saying:”We look forward to the day when Item 7 is no longer needed. That day will come when the occupation is history, rather than today’s reality.”
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