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Human Rights Council Establishes International Commission of Inquiry to Investigate Violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and in Israel

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2021年5月27日

27 May 2021

The Human Rights Council this afternoon adopted a resolution on ensuring respect for international human rights law and international humanitarian law in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and in Israel, in which it established an international commission of inquiry to investigate violations of international humanitarian law and all alleged violations and abuses of international human rights law leading up to and since 13 April 2021, and all underlying root causes of recurrent tensions.

The resolution was adopted at the end of a one-day special session of the Human Rights Council on the “grave human rights situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem”.

In the resolution (A/HRC/S-30/L.1), adopted by a vote of 24 in favour, 9 against and 14 abstentions, the Council decides to urgently establish an ongoing independent, international commission of inquiry, to be appointed by the President of the Human Rights Council, to investigate in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and in Israel all alleged violations of international humanitarian law and all alleged violations and abuses of international human rights law leading up to and since 13 April 2021, and all underlying root causes of recurrent tensions, instability and protraction of conflict, including systematic discrimination and repression based on national, ethnic, racial or religious identity. 

The Council also calls upon all relevant parties to cooperate fully with the commission of inquiry and to facilitate its access.  It urges all States to refrain from transferring arms when they assess, in accordance with applicable national procedures and international obligations and standards, that there is a clear risk that such arms might be used in the commission or facilitation of serious violations or abuses of international human rights law or serious violations of international humanitarian law.

Pakistan introduced the draft resolution on behalf of the Organization of Islamic Conference. 

Israel and the State of Palestine spoke as a concerned countries.

Speaking in general statements or in statements before or after the vote were Austria, Germany, Russian Federation, United Kingdom, Bahamas, Mexico, Venezuela, France, Bulgaria and the Netherlands

At the beginning of the meeting, the Council concluded the discussion, which started in the morning meeting

Speakers said people in Israel, Gaza and the West Bank needed their leaders to make courageous steps towards peace.  Some speakers said that the indiscriminate barrage of rockets fired by Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad into Israel were completely unacceptable.  Other speakers said the Council must do three things: address the root causes of the conflict; call the situation what it was, apartheid and persecution, that is crimes against humanity; and end impunity by creating a standing mechanism – because the problems were systemic, long-lasting and would not be solved overnight.  It was unconscionable that States including the United States, Germany and Italy still supplied weapons and other military assistance to the Israeli Government, despite the clear risk of serious violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law.  Some speakers, expressing their full solidarity with Israel, said they refused to support any investigation or mechanism that victimised and exonerated Hamas and other violent organizations.  There had been an explosion of anti-Semitism in past weeks, the result of the anti-Semitic vilification of Israel, to which the Council provided cover. 

Speaking were Faysal Mekadad, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Expatriates of Syria; Sultan bin Saad Al-muraikhi, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Qatar; Sameh Shoukry, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Egypt; and Dato’ Kamarudin Jaffar, Deputy Foreign Minister of Malaysia.

The following countries also took the floor: Argentina, France, Senegal, Nepal, Bulgaria, Argentina, Netherlands, Philippines, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Jordan, Costa Rica, Djibouti, Mali, Brunei Darussalam, Ireland, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Ecuador, Iraq, Chile, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Malta, Viet Nam, Morocco, Australia, Nigeria, Niger, Algeria, Maldives, Albania, Sovereign Order of Malta, South Africa, United Nations Relief and Works Agency, Peru, Timor-Leste, Oman, Liechtenstein, Yemen, Canada, Holy See, Iran, Colombia, Botswana, New Zealand, Luxembourg, Guyana, United Arab Emirates, Hungary, Sri Lanka, Paraguay, Switzerland and Angola.

The following non-governmental organizations also took the floor: International Commission of Jurists; European Union of Jewish Students; Human Rights Watch; Al-Haq, Law in the Service of Man; Defence for Children International; International Service for Human Rights; Norwegian Refugee Council; Women's International League for Peace and Freedom; Institute for NGO Research; Ingenieurs du Monde, United Nations Watch; World Jewish Congress; Amnesty International; Caro Institute for Human Rights Studies; ADALAH, Legal Centre for Arab Minority Rights in Israel; International Association of Jewish Lawyers and Jurists; and Women's Centre for Legal Aid and Counselling.

Israel spoke in a point of order.

This was the thirtieth special session of the Human Rights Council, which was requested by 69 States, of whom 21 are Member States of the Council and 48 are Observer States. 

The forty-seventh regular session of the Human Rights Council will be held from 21 June to 15 July 2021.

Discussion

Speakers said they were profoundly preoccupied by the new cycle of violence between Israel, Hamas and other Palestinian organizations, which was spiralling out of control.  Should the escalation continue, there would be devastating consequences that would aggravate the humanitarian plight born by years of extended blockades, recurrent hostilities, and, more recently, the COVID-19 pandemic.  Further bloodshed must be avoided, speakers emphasised.  One speaker said the objective of the military and civil leaders of Israel had been precisely to kill children and destroy mosques, schools and civilian infrastructure under the false, immoral pretence of self-defence.  A speaker presented a four-prong approach: bolster the ceasefire agreement; work towards a political agreement; provide the necessary humanitarian support; and ensure that the international community, including the Human Rights Council, assume their full responsibilities.  The international community could not put on an equal footing the occupying power and those subjected to it.  Speakers underlined that the expansion of illegal settlements; forced evictions of Palestinians from their homes in East Jerusalem, including in Sheikh Jarrah, as well as other parts of the occupied Palestinian territory; and the demolition of Palestinian property were grave human rights violations that undermined prospects for peace and reconciliation.

People in Israel, Gaza and the West Bank needed their leaders to make courageous steps towards peace.  Some speakers said that the indiscriminate barrage of rockets fired by Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad into Israel were completely unacceptable.  Silence in the face of acts perpetrated by terrorist groups amounted to granting them an impunity licence; such behaviour was inadmissible, as it threatened human rights.  Expressing their full solidarity with Israel, speakers said they refused to support any investigation or mechanism that victimised and exonerated Hamas and other violent organizations.  There had been an explosion of anti-Semitism in past weeks, the result of the anti-Semitic vilification of Israel, to which the Council provided cover.  Other speakers said the Council must do three things: address the root causes of the conflict; call the situation what it was, apartheid and persecution, that is crimes against humanity; and end impunity by creating a standing mechanism – because the problems were systemic, long-lasting and would not be solved overnight.  Some speakers said this meeting and the new commission of inquiry were an assault on Jewish self-determination and the existence of a Jewish homeland. 

Some said that today’s one-sided session, and the predetermined investigation it proposed would foster war, and play into the hands of Haman and Iran.  Others said it was unconscionable that States including the United States, Germany and Italy still supplied weapons and other military assistance to the Israeli Government, despite the clear risk of serious violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law.  The international community must ensure an independent and thorough investigation parallel to and complementing the ongoing investigation by the International Criminal Court.  Drawing attention to the situation of Palestinian citizens of Israel, speakers said they were subject to organised violence by extremist ultra-right-wing Israeli Jewish groups, with police protection and collusion, in the context of the 2018 Jewish Nation-State Basic Law, which enshrined the decades’ long systematic discrimination against, and domination over, Palestinians.

Action on Resolution on Ensuring Respect for International Human Rights Law and International Humanitarian Law in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and in Israel

In the resolution (A/HRC/S-30/L.1), as orally revised, adopted by a vote of 24 in favour, 9 against and 14 abstentions, the Council decides to urgently establish an ongoing independent, international commission of inquiry, to be appointed by the President of the Human Rights Council, to investigate in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and in Israel all alleged violations of international humanitarian law and all alleged violations and abuses of international human rights law leading up to and since 13 April 2021, and all underlying root causes of recurrent tensions, instability and protraction of conflict, including systematic discrimination and repression based on national, ethnic, racial or religious identity.  The Council also decides that the commission of inquiry shall, inter alia, establish the facts and circumstances that may amount to such violations and abuses and of crimes perpetrated; collect, consolidate and analyse evidence of such violations and abuses and of crimes perpetrated, and systematically record and preserve all information, documentation and evidence, including interviews, witness testimony and forensic material, in accordance with international law standards, in order to maximize the possibility of its admissibility in legal proceedings; have the capacity to document and verify relevant information and evidence, including through field engagement and by cooperating with judicial and other entities, as appropriate; and identify, where possible, those responsible, with a view to ensuring that perpetrators of violations are held accountable.

By the resolution, the Council calls upon all relevant parties to cooperate fully with the commission of inquiry and to facilitate its access.  It urges all States to refrain from transferring arms when they assess, in accordance with applicable national procedures and international obligations and standards, that there is a clear risk that such arms might be used in the commission or facilitation of serious violations or abuses of international human rights law or serious violations of international humanitarian law.

The results of the vote were as follows:

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.

Link: https://www.ungeneva.org/fr/news-media/meeting-summary/2021/05/human-rights-council-establishes-international-commission

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For use of the information media; not an official record

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