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Al-Haq’s Reasons in Support of an International Treaty on the Right to Development
03، May 2019

Al-Haq’s Reasons in Support of an International Treaty on the Right to DevelopmentOn April 30, 2019, Al-Haq submitted to the Secretariat of the Human Rights Council Advisory Committee[1] reasons in support of an international treaty on the right to development, which seeks to highlight why this treaty is crucial for the occupied Palestinian people to access their natural wealth and resources, which is systematically and routinely denied by the Israeli occupation, colonisation and annexation of the territory.

Al-Haq’s submission justified the importance of the Right to Development for the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT) and its population. The current system of discriminatory policies, access restrictions and physical barriers, separate legal systems for Israeli and Palestinian individuals, and collective punishment measures including the closure of the Gaza Strip, which violate IHL and IHRL are major obstacles to Palestinian economic development.

The right to development encompasses the right to economic, social, cultural and political development with people at its centre. It includes the right to self-determination understood as the right of people “to determine their political status and to pursue their economic, social and cultural development” and the right of peoples to exercise “complete sovereignty over all their natural wealth and resources”.

In Palestine, the Israeli annexationist approach, practiced in different forms and several locations leads to restricted access of Palestinians to natural resources like oil, solar and gas energy as well water, stone and Dead Sea minerals. In the context of the aforementioned fragmentation and annexation, the obstruction of development of these sectors has led to losses in revenue of USD 2.2 billion annually.

Israeli settlement enterprise is built and developed on the land appropriated from the Palestinians and uses Palestinian resources which are off limits for the Palestinian communities neighboring the settlements. The establishment of Israeli settlements in the OPT constitutes a serious and flagrant violation of international law, and undermines the ability for economic development and employment opportunities for the occupied Palestinian population. Al-Haq advises that a treaty on the right to development include provisions on corporate liability, whereby corporations and corporate agents may be held responsible for violations of the right to development.

Al-Haq urges that the realisation of the right to development as a stand-alone right, requires a legally binding treaty with specific references to the situation of armed conflict including belligerent occupation where international humanitarian law (IHL) operates as the governing law alongside international human rights law (IHRL). Al-Haq recommends that a treaty on the right to development recognise the obligations of third States to respect and ensure respect for the right to development of the occupied population.

Link to submission in support of an International Treaty on the Right to Development can be found here.


[1] Pursuant to Human Rights Council resolution 5/1, the Human Rights Council Advisory Committee (hereinafter "the Advisory Committee"), composed of 18 experts, has been established to function as a think-tank for the Council and work at its direction. The Advisory Committee replaces the former Sub-Commission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights.