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Comprehensive report on the Occupied Palestinian Territory

Human Rights Council 35th Session - Agenda Item 7

Introductory remarks by Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein High Commissioner for Human Rights

Geneva, 19 June 2017

Mr. President,
Distinguished Members of the Human Rights Council,
Excellencies,
Colleagues, Friends,

I am pleased to introduce my report and its addendum pursuant to Rights Council resolution 31/35. Its analysis is based on a review of 64 reports issued between 2009 and 2016, containing 929 recommendations by the Secretary-General, the High Commissioner for Human Rights and Human Rights Council mechanisms. This includes recommendations from previous fact-finding missions, Commissions of Inquiry and Special Procedures mandate-holders, as well as reports by the Treaty Bodies to the Human Rights Council.  773 of these recommendations were found to fall within the mandated scope of the report. As requested by the Council, the report identifies patterns of non-compliance, non-implementation and non-cooperation, and proposes follow-up measures to ensure implementation of those recommendations.

The final analysis includes recommendations addressed to all parties. The recommendations reviewed were addressed to the Government of Israel; the Government of the State of Palestine and other Palestinian duty bearers; the United Nations and the international community; Member States; businesses and civil society. Recommendations across the different types of reports have been grouped into the following seven thematic areas: accountability and access to justice; international engagement; right to liberty and treatment in detention; settlements; freedom of movement; other civil and political rights; and economic, social and cultural rights.

Patterns of non-compliance, non-implementation and non-cooperation have been identified across these thematic areas based on an objective assessment referencing the most recent information available in United Nations reports, national official sources, documentation and publications by civil society and other credible sources. To this end, my Office sent note verbales to the concerned countries late last year, and subsequently issued an open call for submissions on the Human Rights Council website from 23 February to 26 March 2017, in order to give all stakeholders the opportunity to provide relevant information.

The addendum to the report aims to illustrate how the status of implementation of the recommendations was determined, through an analysis of key recommendations. Given space limitations, it has not been possible for the addendum to cover the assessment of each of the 773 recommendations. It is thus composed of a series of illustrative examples from each thematic area, showing the analytical process that led to the determination of the status of implementation, with reference to the range of sources that were used to determine whether or not a recommendation could be described as implemented, partially implemented, or not implemented. Examples of recommendations made to all parties have been assessed.

 The report documents failures by all of the parties to fully implement the vast majority of recommendations. This extremely low implementation rate on all sides is discouraging.  

The recommendations by human rights mechanisms and by the Secretary-General and the High Commissioner manifested a general consensus on the measures that parties must take in order to further compliance with international humanitarian law and international human rights law. These include: ending of practices that continue to violate international law and ensuring accountability for past violations, including war crimes. I am therefore not proposing another human rights mechanism in this report.

In closing, allow me to reiterate to all stakeholders that compliance with international law, and ensuring its respect, are not optional: they are the sine qua non condition for peace. All the reports analysed by my Office in the present review indicated that the general patterns of human rights violations and non-implementation of recommendations are not merely symptoms of the conflict, but further fuel the cycle of violence, which has now persisted for half a century.

To break this cycle, the root causes must be addressed. These include bringing the occupation to an end and addressing the security concerns of Israel. Respect for human rights is the path which leads out of this conflict, creating the space for peace. This requires real political will and commitment by all stakeholders.

Thank you.