Al-Haq welcomes the adoption of a historic resolution during the 30th Special Session of the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Council (HRC). Adopted by a vote of 24 in favour, 9 against and 14 abstentions, the resolution establishes the first ongoing Commission of Inquiry to address Israel’s violations against the Palestinian people on both sides of the Green Line, and the underlying root causes of such systematic and widespread violations, embedded in Israel’s settler-colonial and apartheid regime. This resolution is also the first resolution, adopted by the HRC on Palestine, which calls on Third States to refrain from transferring arms when assessed that these arms would be used to commit serious violations of international law.
Speaking before the Council, Al-Haq and partners highlighted that the “announced-ceasefire does not end Israel’s institutionalised regime of racial oppression, domination and dispossession, embedded in Israel’s settler-colonial and apartheid system imposed over the Palestinian people as a whole. Israel’s violence and oppression against the Palestinian people continues on a daily basis.” The joint statement further addressed the urgent need for the international community to recognise the root causes of the prolonged denial of Palestinian rights, to vote in favour of this resolution, enabling this Council to begin to effectively address the violations against the Palestinian people as a whole, and to support justice and accountability, including the International Criminal Court (ICC) investigation and the annual updating of the UN Database, underlining that the “Palestinian people have been denied their rights for too long. The status-quo cannot continue.”
Maisaa Abo El-Ouf, a 23-year-old Palestinian who miraculously survived the illegal targeting of civilian homes in the centre of Gaza City, spoke about the killing of two of her sisters: Rawan and Shaima, and being trapped under the rubble when her home was bombed by Israel. Maisaa highlighted that “The root causes can no longer be ignored. We have been forcefully displaced, strategically fragmented and placed into a system of racial and ethnic domination. This is apartheid. This is a war crime.” Maisaa further reminded the Council that justice is the first steps towards peace, saying “to deny us protection and justice is to destroy any hope for peace.”
Speaking from the Gaza Strip, Issam Younis, Commissioner General of The Palestinian Independent Commission for Human Rights (ICHR), and General Director of Al Mezan noted that “recent events are only a symptom. The problem is that for 73 years, the Palestinian people have endured systematic, institutionalized, and long-established laws, policies, and practices that aim to impose and maintain a settler-colonial regime of racial domination and oppression over Palestinians on both sides of the Green Line.” In his statement, he addressed Member States saying: “today you have a choice: either to vote in favor of the resolution before you, to move us forward, under the shelter of international law, or to withhold your support and choose geopolitical and economic interests.”
Ahead of the Special Session, Palestinian civil society organisations called on the international community to support the holding of a Special Session by the UN Human Rights Council and the establishment of a commission of inquiry to address the root causes of Israeli violations against the Palestinian people, in line with the 2019 Concluding Observations on Israel by the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, which warned that Israeli policies and practices against Palestinians on both sides of the Green Line are in violation of Article 3 of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD) pertaining to racial segregation and apartheid.
Further, a joint call of action by Palestinian, regional, and international civil society organisations was issued, urging individuals and organisations to place pressure on their governments to support a commission of inquiry, including by writing to their Ministries of Foreign Affairs and missions in Geneva to urge them to support the resolution. The call for action further included a petition, which was signed by more than 3000 individuals and organizations from over 77 countries, calling on UN member states to vote in favour of the resolution.
Al-Haq stresses that Member States that abstained or voted against the adoption of the resolution, along with all Third States that are yet to abide their legal obligations of non-recognition and non-assistance with regards to Israel’s annexation, colonisation, and apartheid, and cooperate to bring an end to the illegal situation, must stop treating the Palestinian people as an exception when applying the rule of law.
 In favour (24): Argentina, Armenia, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Bolivia, Burkina Faso, China, Cote d’Ivoire, Cuba, Eritrea, Gabon, Indonesia, Libya, Mauritania, Mexico, Namibia, Pakistan, Philippines, Russian Federation, Senegal, Somalia, Sudan, Uzbekistan and Venezuela.
Against (9): Austria, Bulgaria, Cameroon, Czech Republic, Germany, Malawi, Marshall Islands, United Kingdom and Uruguay.
Abstentions (14): Bahamas, Brazil, Denmark, Fiji, France, India, Italy, Japan, Nepal, Netherlands, Poland, Republic of Korea, Togo and Ukraine.