45th Regular Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council
Item 9 - Racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related forms of intolerance, follow‑up and implementation of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action
Joint Oral Intervention by
Al Mezan Centre for Human Rights
Al Haq, Law in the Service of Man
Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies
Women's Centre for Legal Aid and Counselling
Date: 1 October 2020
Speaker: Mrs. Nuriya Oswald, Al Mezan Centre for Human Rights
Since 1948, Israel has instituted a series of discriminatory laws, policies, and practices that form the foundation of its institutionalized system of racial domination and oppression over the indigenous Palestinian people. These discriminatory features arise from Israel’s raison d’État and maintain a racialized system of dispossession, domination, and fragmentation of the Palestinian people. This colonial project amounts to the crime of apartheid under the Rome Statute.
Israel’s illegal closure and blockade of the Gaza Strip forms part of this campaign and aids in denying the Palestinian people their inalienable right to self-determination, including permanent sovereignty over natural resources and the right of return of Palestinian refugees.
The illegal closure and diversion of the natural aquifer of the Gaza Strip have rendered the territory unfit for human inhabitation, violate the full spectrum of human rights of Palestinians in Gaza, and render Israel in flagrant breach of the norms and legal obligations of an Occupying Power. The State’s violent and discriminatory policies and practices that collectively make up the closure and blockade amount to unlawful collective punishment and evidence an institutionalized, continuous perpetration of the crimes against humanity of apartheid and persecution under the Rome Statute.
Al Mezan calls on this Council and its Member States to take effective legal and political measures to publicly recognize and collectively overcome the apartheid regime imposed over the Palestinian people as a whole, to end Israel’s illegal closure and blockade of Gaza, and to bring perpetrators of suspected war crimes and crimes against humanity to justice, including at the ICC.
Watch the video statement at the UN TV here.
 See Al Mezan et al., Palestinian Human Rights Organizations & Victims’ Communication to the International Criminal Court Pursuant to Article 15 of the Rome Statute Requesting Investigation and Prosecution of The Illegal Closure of the Gaza Strip: Persecution and Other Inhumane Acts Perpetrated against the Civilian Population as Crimes against Humanity (November 2016), available at: http://mezan.org/en/post/21630
 For more information, please see: Al Mezan and partners’ joint parallel report to the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination on Israel’s 17-19 Periodic Reports; session 100. Submitted: 10 November 2019. Available at: http://mezan.org/en/uploads/files/1573555716491.pdf