On 29 August 2022, Al-Haq and Al-Quds Community Action Centre (CAC) submitted a Joint Parallel Report for the 72nd Session of the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR). The report, which provides supplemental information to the Committee on Israel’s state report to the CESCR, exposes Israel’s violations of Palestinians’ human rights enshrined in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), which it is obligated to protect as an Occupying Power under international humanitarian law.
The report examines how Israel’s settler-colonial and apartheid regime, represents a categorical threat to the realisation of the rights enshrined in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR). Notably, Israel’s raid and closure of seven Palestinian civil society organizations on 18 August 2022, stands expressly against the rights of Palestinian human rights defenders to work in the way they have freely chosen. This stands in blatant disregard of the organisations’ aim of holding Israel to account for its violation of Covenant rights, including the disenfranchisement of Palestinian women, the impediment to the rights of Palestinian children, and the restriction of Palestinian socio-economic and cultural development. Further, Israel’s military commander summons to the General Directors of Al-Haq and DCI-Palestine threatening arrests and imprisonment for carrying out human rights work, breaches Article 6, of the ICESCR.
Emphasizing the role of the private sector in furthering and actively profiting from Israel’s settler-colonial enterprise, the report examines how Israel’s entrenched framework of discriminatory laws, policies, and practices has institutionalised a regime of racial domination and oppression over the Palestinian people, amounting to the crime of apartheid. The report highlights how Israel’s ongoing occupation and colonization of the OPT infringes on Palestinians’ rights to education, social security, protection of the family, cultural rights, and the right to self-determination. Notably, the Committee’s attention is drawn to systematic repressive measures by Israeli forces that uses unnecessary and disproportionate force, intimidation, collective punishment, and arbitrary arrests to deny the Palestinians’ right to self-determination and threatens their existence as a people.
Without recognizing and addressing the existing structural regimes of racial discrimination and colonial domination that Israel’s apartheid regime maintains over the Palestinian people, the realisation of the rights of the Covenant will be impossible to achieve. As such, it is imperative for the Committee to take concrete measures to halt Israel’s blatant violations of international human rights law that which gravely endangers the lives and fundamental freedoms of Palestinians.
Accordingly, the following recommendations were made to the Committee:
- Call on Israel to rescind the designations of Palestinian civil society organizations as “terror organizations” under its Counter Terrorism Law, 2016, and “unlawful associations” under its military orders; (Article 6, right to work)
- Call on Israel to immediately cease the application of the land title settlement in Jerusalem and repeal all laws it has enacted to further its policy of Palestinian population transfer and maintaining a Jewish majority in Jerusalem in violation of Palestinians’ fundamental rights, including their right to education. (Article 13, education)
- Call on Israel to comply with the Human Rights Council database on business active in illegal settlements; (Article 1, self-determination)
- Calls on this Committee to utilize all mechanisms of international justice and accountability to end Israel's widespread and systematic human rights violations, including attacks against Palestinians’ cultural rights, and bring to an end Israel’s excessive, indiscriminate and disproportionate use of force by the Israeli Occupying Forces and Israeli police against the Palestinian people (Article 3, equal right to culture, Article 1, cultural development)
- Call on Israel, the Occupying Power to end its discriminatory policies and practices in provision of education in East Jerusalem, as segregationist and discriminatory acts of apartheid; (Article 13, education, Article 2(3) non-discrimination)
- Call on Israel to end the illegal occupation and repeal system of discriminatory laws, policies and practices maintaining the apartheid regime, which systematically denies Palestinians their right to self-determination and sovereignty over their natural resources; (Article 1, self-determination, Article 2(3) non-discrimination)
- Demand Israel to immediately repeal its Entry into Israel Law (1952), which has been used to further the Israeli policy of population transfer and achieve demographic goals in Jerusalem in violation of Palestinians' fundamental rights, including their right to freedom of movement and residence, and the right to leave their country and to return; and their right to social security; (Article 9, social security, Article 5, non-restriction)
- Call on Israel to end the closure and blockade of Gaza, which amount to acts of collective punishment, impacting rights to work, health; (Article 1, self-determination, Article 12, health)
- Call for economic sanctions and two-way arms embargo on the weapons trade with Israel until it adheres to its obligations under international law, as well as to call on Israel to guarantee the protection of Palestinian civilian population and cultural heritage in the occupied Gaza Strip. (Article 1, cultural development, Article 15, cultural life)
- Support the Human Rights Council in making annual and comprehensive updates to the UN database, take concrete measures to end all business with Israel’s illegal settlements and their enterprises, and guide the private sector in ensuring their business operations within the OPT adhere to their enhanced due diligence obligations, as established by the UN Guiding Principles. (Article 1, self-determination, Article 12, health, Article 6, work, Article 11, livelihood)
Al-Haq and Community Action Centre joint submission to CESCR can be found here.