Human Rights Council debate on the OPT focuses on bid for statehood
Friday, 30 September 2011 10:26


On 26 September 2011 the Human Rights Council (the Council) held a general debate on the human rights situation in Palestine and other occupied territories. Mr Bacre Ndiaye, Director of the Human Rights Council and Special Procedures Branch, introduced two reports under agenda item 7. The first was in response to Council Resolution 16/32 which requested the Secretary-General present a report on progress made in the implementation of the recommendations of the Fact-Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict. The second report was in response to the Council’s request that the High Commissioner present a report on the implementation of resolution 16/32.


The session lacked balance as Israel, one of the concerned States, chose not to issue a statement. Few Western States spoke at the session, most notably the European Union and the US. Instead, a large number of States from the Arab Group, Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) and African Group, expressed support for Palestine’s bid for statehood at the Security Council in New York. These States repeatedly condemned Israel, calling for Israel, among other things, to implement the fact-finding mission’s recommendations and to end occupation of Palestinian and Syrian territory.


Palestine was the first concerned State to speak and it affirmed that it had taken appropriate action to implement the suggestions of the UN fact-finding mission. Palestine brought attention to alleged human rights violations committed against its people by Israel and called on the international community to put an end to rhetoric and take concrete action. Palestine called on Israel to negotiate a fair and amicable resolution to the dispute that would result in the parties co-existing peacefully side-by-side as two States. Palestine expressed its wishes for the end of occupation, for East Jerusalem to be the capital of the Palestinian State and for refugees to have the right to return back to Palestinian territory. Palestine concluded by saying it was not seeking to isolate Israel, but was rather seeking a multilateral solution to the dispute.


Syria, also speaking as concerned country, accused Israel of building a ‘racist’ wall that separates Israel from Syria and that Israel has committed ‘State terrorism’ that has defied the Human rights of Arabs in the region.


The Arab Group, OIC and African Group States continually highlighted Israeli human rights violations and called on the international community to endorse Palestine’s bid for statehood and for a return to the 1967 borders.1 A number of other States also expressed solidarity with the Palestinians.2 States generally called for Israeli implementation of the fact-finding mission’s recommendations, an end to Israeli occupation, the lifting of the blockade in Gaza, an end to Israeli settlement activity and for an end to Israel’s construction of a separation wall.


Switzerland, India, Spain, and Italy took more nuanced approaches. Switzerland expressed concern over Israeli expansion of settlements and Israeli discrimination of Bedouins, and also called for the Palestinian authorities to put an end of rocket fire from Gaza. India said that both sides had to sit down and shoulder the responsibility for creating a lasting peace and urged both parties, including armed Palestinian groups, to implement the recommendations made by the fact-finding mission. Spain said that it respected Israel’s security needs, and that the culture of impunity on both sides was leading to increasing human rights violations. Spain also said that the construction of settlements in East Jerusalem was illegal under international law and it was concerned with the increase of settlements on illegally occupied land. Italy said the parameters were in place for a long-lasting peace and that further delays on a peace agreement would only exacerbate the conflict.


1 Egypt (on behalf of the Arab Group), Senegal (on behalf of the African Group), Egypt (on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement), Pakistan (on behalf of the Organization of the Islamic Conference), Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, Kuwait, Maldives, Bangladesh, Qatar, Jordan, Indonesia, Turkey, Algeria, Morocco, Iran, Bahrain, Egypt, Oman, United Arab Emirates, Sudan, League of Arab States, South Africa, Lebanon, Organization of Islamic Cooperation, and Tunisia.

2 China, Russia, Cuba, Sri Lanka, Brazil, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, and Venezuela.

Last Updated on Friday, 30 September 2011 10:27
© by The International Service for Human Rights (ISHR) 2018