A draft resolution from the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) calling for the establishment of a commission of inquiry on the issue was circulated to UN member states. There is still time to call on our respective governments to support the resolution ahead of the vote in the UN Human Rights Council on 27 May 2021. Let’s act now!
Israel’s repression against Palestinians on both sides of the Green Line intensified in May 2021 in response to widespread Palestinian demonstrations against Israel’s imminent threat of eviction and displacement of eight Palestinian families from their homes in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in Jerusalem. This is only the latest in a series of measures, which form part of Israel’s decades-long institutionalized regime of racial domination and oppression over the Palestinian people as a whole. While the international community has ensured Israel’s impunity since 1948, enabling Israel to continue to commit widespread and systematic human rights violations. Palestinians on both sides of the Green Line, and refugees and exiles abroad, are denied their right of return and continue to steadfastly resist 73 years of Israeli settler colonialism and apartheid.
What can you do?
This resolution needs all the support it can garner. Encourage your friends and colleagues throughout the world to mobilize their networks. In particular, we seek support from human rights and anti-racism movements in in all parts of the world to place pressure on their governments to support a commission of inquiry.
- Sign the petition through this link
- Write to your foreign ministry calling on it to support the OIC resolution and the establishment of an ongoing commission of inquiry on violations committed on both sides of the Green Line and to reject any proposed amendment that would undermine or seek to restrict or undermine the commission of inquiry. A list of contact information for foreign ministries can be found here.
- Send a copy of the correspondence to your country’s ambassador in Geneva. Contact information can be found here.
- Follow the Special Session, which will be livestreamed and use social media to tweet at your representatives and @UN_HRC with #SupportPalestineCOI to raise awareness about the debate and the call for an independent commission of inquiry.
What is the Special Session about?
In addition to the debate, the OIC has presented a resolution requesting that the HRC appoint an ongoing independent commission of inquiry to investigate, in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and in Israel, all violations and abuses of international humanitarian law and international human rights law since 1 April 2021, which will also be mandated to study all underlying root causes, including Israel’s systemic discrimination and repression, thereby encompassing the crimes of apartheid and persecution.
This comes following years of work by civil society, including Palestinian, regional and international human rights organisations, urging states to address the root causes of Israel’s settler colonialism and apartheid imposed over the Palestinian people as a whole.
Palestinian civil society, supported by a broad coalition of 120 regional and international organisations, urged member states to ensure the creation of a commission of inquiry to monitor, document and report on all violations of international human rights and humanitarian law, including the latest Israeli attacks against Palestinians on both sides of the Green Line and address the root causes of Israel’s institutionalized regime of racial domination and oppression. In addition, the organisations called for the mechanism to address the root causes of Israel’s institutionalized regime of racial domination and oppression.
What is a commission of inquiry?
UN commissions of inquiry are international independent investigative bodies designed to examine serious situations of violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law, as applicable. Based on their mandates, they collect information on violations, establish the facts, and identify perpetrators. As such, these investigatory bodies can play an important role in promoting accountability for violations and preventing future violations.
Why is this important?
This is an important resolution as it is the first time the Human Rights Council:
- Addresses the root causes of Israel’s systemic discrimination, including Israel’s settler colonialism and apartheid, by establishing a commission of inquiry, which would address Israeli violations against the Palestinian people;
- Includes a geographic scope encompassing, for the first time, Israeli violations targeting the Palestinian people on both sides of the Green Line, in recognition that Israel’s institutionalized regime of racial domination and oppression targets the Palestinian people as a whole.
What is at stake?
- Some delegations may attempt to change the language and weaken the resolution given that the proposed commission of inquiry has a real potential to begin to address the root causes of human rights violations in Palestine, to seek meaningful accountability, and to preserve evidence that can be used in international criminal proceedings to hold perpetrators accountable.
- We need UN member states to take the opportunity to establish an ongoing commission of inquiry that addresses the current systematic violations but also future violations in the context of Israel’s institutionalized regime of racial domination and oppression over the Palestinian people, with the aim to bring an end to decades of impunity and international inaction in the face of mass atrocities against Palestinians.
 Member States: Bahrain, Bangladesh, Bolivia (Plurinational State of), Burkina Faso, China, Côte d’Ivoire, Cuba, Eritrea, Gabon, Indonesia, Libya, Mauritania, Mexico, Namibia, Pakistan, Senegal, Somalia, Sudan, Uzbekistan and Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of)
Observer States: Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Azerbaijan, Benin, Brunei Darussalam, Chad, Comoros, Djibouti, Egypt, Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Iraq, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Morocco, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Suriname, Syrian Arab Republic, Tajikistan, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, Yemen and the State of Palestine