1. In examining the State of Palestine’s initial and second periodic reports (hereinafter ‘State report’ or ‘the report’), submitted to the ninety-ninth session of the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (hereinafter CERD or ‘the Committee’), Al-Haq affirms the importance of examining the broader context of Israel’s prolonged occupation of the Palestinian territory since 1967. At the same time, Al-Haq stresses that this context does not absolve the State of Palestine of its obligation to give effect to the provisions and purposes of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD or ‘the Convention’), to which it has acceded without reservations. In assessing the obligations of the State of Palestine under the Convention, the Committee should consider the simultaneous applicability of international humanitarian law, in particular the law of belligerent occupation, to the situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT), in addition to applicable norms of public international law. Al-Haq urges the Committee to consider the conclusions of the 2017 report by the United Nations (UN) Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA), which concluded that Israel has established an apartheid regime over Palestinians, based on the strategic fragmentation of the Palestinian people. In addition, Al-Haq calls on the Committee to examine the State of Palestine’s report in light of Israel’s widespread and systematic human rights violations committed against Palestinians, including policies and practices of racial discrimination and segregation, constituting the crime of apartheid.
2. The State of Palestine has not submitted its report on time, nor has it submitted its common core document to the UN treaty bodies. In addition, there is a rift in the Palestinian political system and amongst public authorities, which negatively affects the ability of the State of Palestine to enforce the Convention and its purposes without delay. ICERD, as well as the other core human rights treaties to which the State of Palestine has acceded without reservations, has not entered into force in the OPT in what concerns the decisions of the Palestinian Supreme Constitutional Court. No national institution has been established to facilitate the implementation of the Convention and its purposes in Palestine, in accordance with the Committee’s general recommendations. The State of Palestine must work without delay to enact a Palestinian law to combat racial discrimination, guided by the Model Law Against Racial Discrimination, which forms part of the UN’s efforts to combat racism and racial discrimination. This Model Law is deemed important as a reference document, especially in providing definitions, general principles, and measures, which may be addressed by national legislation to combat racial discrimination, including in relation to crimes, penalties, and all issues related to the protection of victims of racial discrimination, and the provision of effective remedies to victims. Al-Haq stresses the need to work without delay to adopt a national Palestinian strategy to combat racial discrimination, racial segregation, and apartheid, in partnership with all segments of Palestinian civil society. There is also a need to establish effective mechanisms to ensure the Convention’s proper implementation on the ground, with clear and complementary roles and responsibilities in the implementation process. The strategy must continuously be reviewed, developed, and integrated in school curricula and university courses. A media plan should also be developed to widely promote the strategy. In addition, training programmes are needed for capacity-building in both the public and private sectors, in order to effectively contribute to the elimination of all forms of racial discrimination, racial segregation, and apartheid, and to promote human rights education within Palestinian society.
To read Al-Haq's full report submitted to the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination on 13 August 2019, click here.
 CERD, Initial and second periodic reports submitted by the State of Palestine under Article 9 of the Convention, due in 2017, 16 October 2018, UN Doc. CERD/C/PSE/1-2.
 International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (adopted 7 March 1966, entry into force 4 January 1969) 660 UNTS 195 (hereinafter ICERD).
 ESCWA, Israeli Practices towards the Palestinian People and the Question of Apartheid, Palestine and the Israeli Occupation, Issue No. 1, 15 March 2017, UN Doc. E/ESCWA/ECRI/2017/1.