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TWN Info Service on UN Sustainable Development (Mar17/08)
31 March 2017
Third World Network

Human Rights Council adopts five resolutions on OPT
Published in SUNS #8431 dated 28 March 2017


Geneva, 27 Mar (Kanaga Raja) -- The United Nations Human Rights Council on Friday closed its thirty-fourth regular session after adopting a number of resolutions including five on the situation of human rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT), including East Jerusalem.

In the resolutions on the OPT, the Council amongst others stressed the need for Israel, the occupying Power, to withdraw from the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem.

It also demanded that Israel, the occupying Power, immediately cease all settlement activities in all the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and in the occupied Syrian Golan. It further reaffirmed the inalienable, permanent and unqualified right of the Palestinian people to self-determination.

Meanwhile, in a resolution on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, adopted without a vote, the Council decided to dispatch urgently an independent international fact-finding mission to be appointed by the President of the Human Rights Council to establish the facts and circumstances of the alleged recent human rights violations by military and security forces, and abuses, in Myanmar, in particular in Rakhine State, including but not limited to arbitrary detention, torture and inhuman treatment, rape and other forms of sexual violence, extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary killings, enforced disappearance, forced displacement and unlawful destruction of property, with a view to ensuring full accountability for perpetrators and justice for victims.

It requested the fact-finding mission to present to the Council an oral update at its thirty-sixth session and a full report at its thirty-seventh session.

In another resolution on the situation of human rights in the Syrian Arab Republic, adopted by a vote of 27 in favour, seven against and 13 abstentions, the Council decided to extend for one year the mandate of the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic, established by the Human Rights Council in its resolution S-17/1 of 22 August 2011.

In other actions, the Council extended for a further period of one year the mandates of the Special Rapporteurs on the situation of human rights in Iran, Myanmar, and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

It also decided to extend the mandate of the Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan, composed of three members, for a period of one year, renewable as authorized by the Human Rights Council.

The Human Rights Council held its thirty-fourth regular session from 27 February to 24 March.

FIVE RESOLUTIONS ADOPTED ON OPT

A resolution (A/HRC/34/L. 39) on the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination was co-sponsored by Bahrain (on behalf of the Gulf Cooperation Council), Bangladesh, Bolivia, Chile, Cuba, Iraq (on behalf of the Group of Arab States), Maldives, Namibia, Nicaragua, Pakistan (on behalf of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation), the State of Palestine, Venezuela, and Zimbabwe.

It was adopted by a vote of 43 in favour, two against and two abstentions. Those that voted against were Togo, and United States of America. Panama and Paraguay abstained in the vote.

In the resolution, the Council reaffirmed the inalienable, permanent and unqualified right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, including their right to live in freedom, justice and dignity and the right to their independent State of Palestine.

It deeply regretted the onset of the fiftieth year of the Israeli occupation, called upon Israel, the occupying Power, to immediately end its occupation of the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and reaffirmed its support for the solution of two States, Palestine and Israel, living side by side in peace and security.

The Council expressed grave concern at the fragmentation and the changes in the demographic composition of the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, which are resulting from Israel's continuing construction and expansion of settlements, and forcible transfer of Palestinians and construction of the wall.

It stressed that this fragmentation, which undermines the possibility of the Palestinian people realizing their right to self-determination, is incompatible with the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations, and emphasized in this regard the need for respect for and preservation of the territorial unity, contiguity and integrity of all of the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem.

It confirmed that the right of the Palestinian people to permanent sovereignty over their natural wealth and resources must be used in the interest of their national development, the well-being of the Palestinian people and as part of the realization of their right to self-determination.

The Council called upon all States to ensure their obligations of non-recognition, non-aid or assistance with regard to the serious breaches of peremptory norms of international law by Israel, and also called upon them to cooperate further to bring, through lawful means, an end to these serious breaches and a reversal of Israel's illegal policies and practices.

It urged all States to adopt measures as required to promote the realization of the right to self-determination of the Palestinian people, and to render assistance to the United Nations in carrying out the responsibilities entrusted to it by the Charter regarding the implementation of this right.

A resolution (A/HRC/34/L. 40) on the human rights situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem was co-sponsored by Bahrain (on behalf of the Gulf Cooperation Council), Bangladesh, Bolivia, Chile, Cuba, Iraq (on behalf of the Group of Arab States), Maldives, Namibia, Nicaragua, Pakistan (on behalf of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation), Venezuela, Zimbabwe, and the State of Palestine.

It was adopted by a vote of 41 in favour, two against and four abstentions.

Those that voted in favour were: Albania, Bangladesh, Belgium, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Burundi, China, Cote d'Ivoire, Croatia, Cuba, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Japan, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Mongolia, Netherlands, Nigeria, Philippines, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Saudi Arabia, Slovenia, South Africa, Switzerland, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and Venezuela.

Those that voted against were: Togo and United States of America. Those that abstained were: Congo, Panama, Paraguay, and Rwanda.

In the resolution, the Council stressed the need for Israel, the occupying Power, to withdraw from the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem, so as to enable the Palestinian people to exercise their universally recognized right to self-determination.

It reiterated that all measures and actions taken by Israel, the occupying Power, in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, in violation of the relevant provisions of the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, of 12 August 1949, and contrary to the relevant resolutions of the Security Council are illegal and have no validity.

It demanded that Israel, the occupying Power, comply fully with the provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 and cease immediately all measures and actions taken in violation and in breach of the Convention.

It demanded that Israel, the occupying Power, cease all practices and actions that violate the human rights of the Palestinian people, and that it fully respect human rights law and comply with its legal obligations in this regard, including in accordance with relevant United Nations resolutions.

The Council reiterated the need for respect for the territorial unity, contiguity and integrity of all of the Occupied Palestinian Territory and for guarantees of the freedom of movement of persons and goods within the Palestinian territory, including movement into and from East Jerusalem, into and from the Gaza Strip, between the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, and to and from the outside world.

It demanded that Israel, the occupying Power, cease immediately its imposition of prolonged closures and economic and movement restrictions, including those amounting to a blockade on the Gaza Strip, which severely restricts the freedom of movement of Palestinians within, into and out of Gaza and their access to basic utilities, housing, education, work, health and an adequate standard of living via various measures, including import and export restrictions, that have a direct impact on livelihoods, economic sustainability and development throughout Gaza, aggravating the state of de-development in Gaza.

In this regard, it called upon Israel to implement fully the Agreement on Movement and Access and the Agreed Principles for the Rafah Crossing, in order to allow for the sustained and regular movement of persons and goods and for the acceleration of long overdue reconstruction in the Gaza Strip.

The Council condemned all acts of violence, including all acts of terror, provocation, incitement and destruction, especially the excessive use of force by the Israeli occupying forces against Palestinian civilians, particularly in the Gaza Strip, where bombardment of populated areas has caused extensive loss of life and a vast number of injuries, including among thousands of children and women, massive damage and destruction to homes, economic, industrial and agricultural properties, vital infrastructure, including water, sanitation and electricity networks, religious sites and public institutions, including hospitals and schools, and United Nations facilities, and agricultural lands, and large-scale internal displacement of civilians, and the excessive use of force by the Israeli occupying forces against Palestinian civilians in the context of peaceful protests in the West Bank.

It also condemned the firing of rockets against Israeli civilian areas resulting in loss of life and injury.

It expressed deep concern at the conditions of the Palestinian prisoners and detainees, including minors, in Israeli jails and detention centres, and demanded that Israel, the occupying Power, fully respect and abide by its international law obligations towards all Palestinian prisoners and detainees in its custody.

It also expressed its concern at the continued extensive use of administrative detention, called for a full implementation of the agreement reached in May 2012 for a prompt and independent investigation into all cases of death (in) custody, and also called upon Israel to release immediately all Palestinian prisoners, including Palestinian legislators, detained in violation of international law.

The Council deplored the resumption by Israel of the policy of punitive home demolitions and the ongoing policy of revoking the residency permits of Palestinians living in East Jerusalem through various discriminatory laws, and the demolition of residential structures and the forced eviction of Palestinian families, in violation of their basic right to adequate housing and in violation of international humanitarian law.

It expressed concern at the Citizenship and Entry into Israel Law adopted by the Knesset, which suspends the possibility, with certain rare exceptions, of family reunification between Israeli citizens and persons residing in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, thus adversely affecting the lives of many families.

It demanded that Israel, the occupying Power, cease all of its settlement activities, the construction of the wall and any other measures aimed at altering the character, status and demographic composition of the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including in and around East Jerusalem, all of which have, inter alia, a grave and detrimental impact on the human rights of the Palestinian people and the prospects for a peaceful settlement.

It deplored the illegal Israeli actions in occupied East Jerusalem, including home demolitions, evictions of Palestinian residents, excavations in and around religious and historic sites, and all other unilateral measures aimed at altering the character, status and demographic composition of the city and of the territory as a whole.

The Council deplored the persistent non-cooperation of Israel with special procedure mandate holders and other United Nations mechanisms, and stressed the need for Israel to abide by all relevant United Nations resolutions and to cooperate with the Human Rights Council, all special procedures and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.

A resolution (A/HRC/34/L. 41/Rev. 1) on Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and in the occupied Syrian Golan was adopted as orally revised by a vote of 36 in favour, two against and nine abstentions.

The resolution was co-sponsored by Bahrain (on behalf of the Gulf Cooperation Council), Bangladesh, Bolivia, Chile, Cuba, Iraq (on behalf of the Group of Arab States), Maldives, Namibia, Nicaragua, Pakistan (on behalf of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation), South Africa, Venezuela, Zimbabwe, and State of Palestine.

Those that voted in favour were: Bangladesh, Belgium, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Burundi, China, Congo, Cote d'Ivoire, Cuba, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Germany, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Japan, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Netherlands, Nigeria, Philippines, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Saudi Arabia, Slovenia, South Africa, Switzerland, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, and Venezuela.

Togo and United States of America voted against the resolution. Those that abstained were: Albania, Croatia, Georgia, Hungary, Latvia, Panama, Paraguay, Rwanda, and United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

In the resolution, the Council reaffirmed that the Israeli settlements established since 1967 in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and in the occupied Syrian Golan are illegal under international law, and constitute a major obstacle to the achievement of the two-State solution and a just, lasting and comprehensive peace, and to economic and social development.

It called upon Israel to accept the de jure applicability of the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, of 12 August 1949, to the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and to the occupied Syrian Golan, to abide scrupulously by the provisions of the Convention, in particular article 49 thereof, and to comply with all its obligations under international law and cease immediately all actions causing the alteration of the character, status and demographic composition of the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and the occupied Syrian Golan.

It demanded that Israel, the occupying Power, immediately cease all settlement activities in all the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and in the occupied Syrian Golan, and called in this regard for the full implementation of all relevant resolutions of the Security Council, including, inter alia, resolutions 446 (1979) of 22 March 1979, 452 (1979) of 20 July 1979, 465 (1980) of 1 March 1980, 476 (1980) of 30 June 1980, 1515 (2003) of 19 November 2003 and 2334 (2016) of 23 December 2016.

It also demanded that Israel, the occupying Power, comply fully with its legal obligations, as mentioned in the advisory opinion rendered on 9 July 2004 by the International Court of Justice, including to cease forthwith the works of construction of the wall being built in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including in and around East Jerusalem, to dismantle forthwith the structure therein situated, to repeal or render ineffective forthwith all legislative and regulatory acts relating thereto, and to make reparation for the damage caused to all natural or legal persons affected by the construction of the wall.

The Council condemned the continuing settlement and related activities by Israel, including the expansion of settlements, the expropriation of land, the demolition of houses, the confiscation and destruction of property, the forcible transfer of Palestinians, including entire communities, and the construction of bypass roads, which change the physical character and demographic composition of the occupied territories, including East Jerusalem and the Syrian Golan, and constitute a violation of the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, of 12 August 1949, and in particular article 49 thereof.

It also condemned the construction of new housing units for Israeli settlers in the West Bank and around occupied East Jerusalem, as they seriously undermine the peace process and jeopardize the ongoing efforts by the international community to reach a final and just peace solution compliant with international law and legitimacy, including relevant United Nations resolutions, and constitute a threat to the two-State solution.

The Council expressed its grave concern at, and called for the cessation of:

(a) The operation by Israel of a tramway linking the settlements with West Jerusalem, which is in clear violation of international law and relevant United Nations resolutions;

(b) The expropriation of Palestinian land, the demolition of Palestinian homes, demolition orders, forced evictions and "relocation" plans, the obstruction and destruction of humanitarian assistance and the creation of a coercive environment and unbearable living conditions, by Israel in areas identified for the expansion and construction of settlements, and other practices aimed at the forcible transfer of the Palestinian civilian population, including Bedouin communities and herders, and further settlement activities, including the denial of access to water and other basic services by Israel to Palestinians in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, particularly in areas slated for settlement expansion, and including the appropriation of Palestinian property through, inter alia, declarations of so-called "State lands", closed "military zones", "national parks" and "archaeological" sites to facilitate and advance the expansion or construction of settlements and related infrastructure, in violation of Israel's obligations under international humanitarian law and international human rights law;

(c) Israeli measures in the form of policies, laws and practices that have the effect of preventing Palestinians from full participation in the political, social, economic and cultural life of the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and prevent their full development in both the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

It called upon Israel, the occupying Power:

(a) To end without delay its occupation of the territories occupied since 1967, to reverse the settlement policy in the occupied territories, including East Jerusalem and the Syrian Golan, and, as a first step towards the dismantlement of the settlement enterprise, to stop immediately the expansion of existing settlements, including so-called natural growth and related activities, to prevent any new installation of settlers in the occupied territories, including in East Jerusalem, and to discard its "E-1" plan;

(b) To put an end to all of the human rights violations linked to the presence of settlements, especially of the right to self-determination, and to fulfil its international obligations to provide effective remedy for victims;

(c) To take immediate measures to prohibit and eradicate all policies and practices that discriminate against and disproportionately affect the Palestinian population in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, by, inter alia, putting an end to the system of separate roads for the exclusive use of Israeli settlers, who reside illegally in the said territory, to the complex combination of movement restrictions consisting of the wall, roadblocks and a permit regime that only affects the Palestinian population, the application of a two-tier legal system that has facilitated the establishment and consolidation of the settlements, and other violations and forms of institutionalized discrimination;

(d) To cease the requisition and all other forms of unlawful appropriation of Palestinian land, including so-called "State land", and its allocation for the establishment and expansion of settlements, and to halt the granting of benefits and incentives to settlements and settlers;

(e) To put an end to all measures and policies resulting in the territorial fragmentation of the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and which are isolating Palestinian communities into separate enclaves, and deliberately changing the demographic composition of the Occupied Palestinian Territory;

(f) To take and implement serious measures, including confiscation of arms and enforcement of criminal sanctions, with the aim of ensuring full accountability for, and preventing, all acts of violence by Israeli settlers, and to take other measures to guarantee the safety and protection of Palestinian civilians and Palestinian properties in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem;

(g) To bring to a halt all actions, including those perpetrated by Israeli settlers, harming the environment, including the dumping of all kinds of waste materials in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and in the occupied Syrian Golan, which gravely threaten their natural resources, namely water and land resources, and which pose an environmental, sanitation and health threat to the civilian population;

(h) To cease the exploitation, damage, cause of loss or depletion and endangerment of the natural resources of the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and of the occupied Syrian Golan.

A resolution on human rights in the Occupied Syrian Golan (A/HRC/34/L. 11) was co-sponsored by Cuba, Maldives, Pakistan (on behalf of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation) and Venezuela.

It was adopted by a vote of 26 in favour, three against and 18 abstentions. Those that voted against were: Togo, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and United States of America.

Those that abstained were: Albania, Belgium, Botswana, Congo, Croatia, Georgia, Germany, Hungary, Japan, Latvia, Netherlands, Panama, Paraguay, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Rwanda, Slovenia, and Switzerland.

In the resolution, the Human Rights Council, amongst others, called upon Israel, the occupying Power, to comply with the relevant resolutions of the General Assembly, the Security Council and the Human Rights Council, in particular Security Council resolution 497 (1981), in which the Council decided, inter alia, that the decision of Israel to impose its laws, jurisdiction and administration on the occupied Syrian Golan was null and void and without international legal effect, and demanded that Israel rescind forthwith its decision.

A resolution (A/HRC/34/L. 38) on ensuring accountability and justice for all violations of international law in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem was co-sponsored by Bahrain (on behalf of the Gulf Cooperation Council), Bangladesh, Bolivia, Chile, Cuba, Iraq (on behalf of the Group of Arab States), Maldives, Namibia, Nicaragua, Pakistan (on behalf of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation), Switzerland, Venezuela, Zimbabwe, and the State of Palestine.

It was adopted by a vote of 30 in favour, two against and 15 abstentions. Those that voted against were: Togo, and United States of America.

Those that abstained were: Albania, Croatia, Ethiopia, Georgia, Germany, Hungary, India, Japan, Kenya, Latvia, Netherlands, Panama, Paraguay, Rwanda, and United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

In the resolution, the Council emphasized the need to ensure that all those responsible for violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law are held to account, through appropriate, fair and independent national or international criminal justice mechanisms, as well as to ensure the provision of effective remedy to all victims, including full reparations.

It stressed the need to pursue practical steps towards these goals to ensure justice for all victims and to contribute to the prevention of future violations.

The Council stressed that all efforts to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict should be grounded in respect for international humanitarian law and international human rights law, and should ensure credible and comprehensive accountability for all violations of international law in order to bring about sustainable peace. +

 


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