(Geneva) – On 22 March 2022, the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS) along with 22 civil society organizations and the missions of Malaysia, Namibia, Pakistan, Palestine, and South Africa, held a high-level side event in parallel to the Human Rights Council 49th session. The hybrid event, entitled ‘Examining the applicability and implications of the apartheid framework to Israel’s repressive rule over the Palestinian people’, was attended in person by over forty representatives of states, OHCHR, and civil society, in addition 160 participants attending online.
Special Rapporteur Michael Lynk presented his historic report concluding that Israeli authorities are committing the crime of apartheid. The Rapporteur urged the international community to adopt the findings of Palestinian, Israeli, and international organizations that “apartheid is being practiced by Israel in the [oPt] and beyond.”
Nada Awad of CIHRS, Shawan Jabarin of Al-Haq, Nuriya Oswald of Al Mezan, Magdalena Mughrabi of Amnesty International, and Omar Shakir of Human Rights Watch welcomed the Special Rapporteur’s report on apartheid in the occupied Palestinian territory since 1967, which reflects the larger reality of Israel’s apartheid regime over the Palestinian people as a whole, as their organizations have documented. The speakers presented their legal analysis and provided recommendations to the international community on steps required to dismantle Israel’s apartheid regime.
Representatives from the ministries of foreign affairs, including Ambassador Penda Naanda of Namibia, Ambassador Ammar Hijazi of Palestine, and Mr Zane Dangor of South Africa, highlighted the interconnectedness of the Namibian, South African, and Palestinian struggles against occupation and apartheid. The speakers reiterated that apartheid is a crime against humanity requiring the international community to take effective actions, similar to the ones adopted in the 1970s and 80s, starting with the reconstitution of the Special Committee and the Center against apartheid at the United Nations General Assembly, which played a pivotal role in mobilizing against apartheid in South Africa.
“These legal findings should serve as a wakeup call for governments around the world,” said Nada Awad, international advocacy officer at CIHRS. “It is time to translate these findings into effective measures to put an end to Israel’s impunity and end its apartheid regime. Accountability is long overdue.”
Since 1948, Israel has established and maintained an apartheid regime over the Palestinian people regardless of their geographic location, including Palestinian refugees denied their right of return to their homes, lands, and properties. To maintain its apartheid regime, Israel resorts to a wide range of repressive policies to subjugate and control Palestinians, including arbitrary detention, excessive use of force, torture, collective punishment, persecution of human rights defenders and organizations, and structural violence preventing Palestinians’ full enjoyment of their human rights, amounting to inhuman acts of apartheid.
“For too long, the international community’s response to Israel’s apartheid regime has been fraught with blatant double standards that severely undermine the effectiveness of international law,” said Elizabeth Rghebi, Levant researcher at CIHRS.
- Recording of the event
- Report by the Special Rapporteur on apartheid
- Joint civil society written statement to HRC 49
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