On 9 June 2022, Al-Haq, along with partner organizations, addressed 65 States, including the 47 Members States of the Human Rights Council (HRC), and third States, ahead of the start of the 50th session of the HRC to take place from 13 June – 8 July 2022. In the letter, the Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) called on States to support the work of the CoI and ensure that the Commission’s mandate is provided with the utmost political, institutional, financial, and material support in order to end Israel’s long-enjoyed impunity and ensure justice for the Palestinian people. The CSOs further stressed that efforts to undermine this important and indispensable accountability mechanisms would only prolong the denial of the Palestinian people’s right to self-determination and return, and entrench Israel’s apartheid and settler-colonial regime and violations of Palestinian rights perpetrated with impunity.
The letter read as follows:
Ahead of the 50th session of the UN Human Rights Council (HRC), the undersigned organizations affirm our strong support for the Commission of Inquiry (CoI), formed by HRC resolution S-30/1, to investigate all underlying root causes of systematic racial discrimination and repression on both sides of the Green Line and provide recommendations crucial to end impunity and ensure justice for the Palestinian people. We urge UN Member States to support the CoI and ensure it is provided with the necessary resources and funding to fully carry out its mandate.
The international community’s failure to hold Israel accountable for its violations of international law – including apparent war crimes and crimes against humanity targeting the Palestinian people– plays a key role in sustaining Israel’s continued occupation of Palestine and apartheid regime. As noted by the former Special Rapporteur on the occupied Palestinian territory, Michael Lynk, “[w]ith the eyes of the international community wide open, Israel has imposed upon Palestine an apartheid reality in a post-apartheid world.” The establishment of this CoI serves as a step towards upholding this responsibility through holistically investigating the systemic root causes of Israel’s violence and violations against the Palestinian people.
As noted by the UN General Assembly, “UN bears permanent responsibility to Palestine […] until the question [of Palestine] is resolved in all its aspects in a satisfactory manner in accordance with international legitimacy.” However, previous UN commissions, bodies, and mechanisms have conducted incidental, piecemeal, temporally, and/or spatially restricted investigations that have omitted the wider patterns and root causes of the enduring injustices against Palestinians, thereby ultimately contributing to Israel’s deliberate fragmentation of the Palestinian people. Ending Israel’s systematic human rights violations and ongoing international crimes perpetrated by Israeli authorities against the Palestinian people should be accomplished by an unrestricted examination of the racist and colonial underpinnings of Israel’s apartheid regime as well as considering the collective struggle of the Palestinian people, as envisaged in the mandate granted to the CoI by the Human Rights Council. Therefore, this Commission’s mandate is an indispensable and overdue step in discharging this Council’s duty to promote and protect human rights with a view to the systemic oppression to which the Palestinian people as a whole remain subjected.
The escalating unnecessary and disproportionate use of force against Palestinians, and widespread appropriation and attacks of their properties, lands, resources, institutions and means of subsistence is achieved by Israel’s regime of occupation, apartheid, colonisation and population transfer, with its continued impunity, unrestrained by the international community of States in spite of their duty not to recognize this illegal situation. Failing to uphold the international obligation to cooperate to end the illegal situation, the international community, including Members of the HRC, have enabled Israel to perpetuate colonial settler violence, attacks on holy sites and worshipers, extrajudicial killings, collective punishment, arbitrary arrests, torture and the denial of freedom of movement. Accordingly, the establishment of this Commission arises from the dire need for the international community to immediately and conclusively address Israel’s entrenched regime of settler-colonialism and apartheid, and to guarantee reparations to the Palestinian people, including non-repetition of serious international crimes and gross violations against the Palestinian people.
We commend this Council’s support for this esteemed and independent CoI and call on Member States to ensure that the Commission’s mandate is provided with the utmost political, institutional, financial, and material support, in order to contribute to justice for the Palestinian people and bring an end to Israel’s impunity.
List of signing organizations:
Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association
Al Mezan Centre for Human Rights
Al-Haq, Law in the Service of Man
Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies
Human Rights & Democratic participation Center “SHAMS”
Palestinian Centre for Human Rights
Palestinian Initiative for the Promotion of Global Dialogue and Democracy (MIFTAH)
Women's Centre for Legal Aid and Counseling
 UN HRC, ‘Report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of Human Rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967’, (21 March 2022) UN Doc A/HRC/49/87, para 59.
 UN General Assembly, ‘Resolution adopted by the General Assembly on 3 December 2019’ (3 December 2019) UN Doc A/RES/74/10.
 Israel’s escalating attacks against Palestinians have led to unprecedent numbers of Palestinians killed between 1 March and 22 May 2022, documented at 42. Field documentation on file with Al-Haq.