On Thursday, 5 September 2019, Al-Haq sent a joint submission to the United Nations (UN) Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) ahead of Israel’s periodic review under the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD or ‘the Convention’) along with partner organisations BADIL Resource Center for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights, Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS), and Habitat International Coalition (HIC) – Housing and Land Rights Network (HLRN).
Submitted for the Committee’s list of themes on Israel’s report, the organisations highlighted Israel’s historic and institutionalised discrimination against the indigenous Palestinian people, resulting in Israel’s continued failure to respect, protect, and fulfil the human rights of all Palestinians throughout its territory and subject to its jurisdiction. This includes Palestinian citizens of Israel and Palestinians subject to Israel’s effective control, as Occupying Power, in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip, constituting the occupied Palestinian territory.
In the submission, the organisations underlined the severe denial of Palestinians’ fundamental rights, and the continued deterioration in the human rights situation, reaffirming Israel’s obligation to fully implement the Convention in good faith. In particular, the groups argued that Israel has entrenched policies and practices of racial discrimination, racial segregation, and apartheid with respect of the Palestinian people as a whole, in violation of Article 3 of the Convention, giving rise to both State responsibility and individual criminal liability.
Further, the submission examined a series of Israeli violations of the Convention, which have neither been addressed nor effectively remedied despite previous recommendations by the Committee. Notably, the organisations stressed that Israel has not reconsidered its planning, construction, and zoning policies, which discriminate against the indigenous Palestinian people on both sides of the Green Line, including in relation to their rights to adequate housing, property, and access to land and natural resources, particularly affecting Palestinian Bedouin communities of the Palestinian people in the southern Naqab and in the West Bank. Israel has also failed to eliminate its policy of demographic manipulation and forced population transfer against Palestinian permanent residents in the city of Jerusalem.
Finally, the submission highlights Israel’s unlawful 12-year closure of the Gaza Strip, which has made Gaza uninhabitable according to UN reports, in violation of Israel’s obligations under international human rights law, including the Convention. Accordingly, the four organisations offered a number of recommendations for inclusion in the Committee’s list of themes ahead of its review of Israel’s seventeenth to nineteenth periodic reports at its upcoming 100th session in Geneva.
To read the full submission made by Al-Haq, BADIL, Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies, and Habitat International Coalition – Housing and Land Rights Network to the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination ahead of Israel’s review, click here.