BADIL along with partner organizations Al-Haq, Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS), and Habitat International Coalition (HIC) – Housing and Land Rights Network (HLRN) sent a joint submission on 5 September, to the United Nations (UN) Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) ahead of Israel’s periodic review under the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD or ‘the Convention’), which Israel ratified on 3 January 1979.
The joint submission highlighted Israel’s historic and institutionalized discrimination against the indigenous Palestinian people, resulting in Israel’s continued failure to respect, protect, and fulfil the human rights of all Palestinians throughout its territory and subject to its jurisdiction. This includes Palestinian citizens of Israel and Palestinians subject to Israel’s effective control, as an Occupying Power, in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip, constituting the occupied Palestinian territory.
The submission underlines the severe denial of Palestinians’ inalienable rights, and the prolonged deterioration in the human rights situation which continues to exacerbate, in addition to reaffirming Israel’s obligation to fully implement the Convention in good faith. Israel has entrenched policies and practices of racial discrimination, racial segregation, and apartheid upon the Palestinian people, which violate Article 3 of the Convention. In addition, the submission examined a series of Israeli violations of the Convention, which have neither been addressed nor effectively remedied despite previous recommendations by the Committee. Israel has not reconsidered its planning, construction, and zoning policies, which discriminate against the indigenous Palestinian people on both sides of the Green Line, including right to adequate housing, property, and access to land and natural resources. Israel’s forced population transfer policies and demographic manipulation is also ongoing, especially against Palestinians in the city of Jerusalem. The submission also highlighted the unlawful 12-year closure of the Gaza Strip, which according to UN reports has caused Gaza to become uninhabitable, and is in violation of Israel’s obligations under international human rights law, including the Convention.
The submission states that “Since the Committee’s Concluding Observations on Israel in 2012, the human rights situation for Palestinians has continued to significantly deteriorate, as a result of sustained efforts by Israel to fragment the indigenous Palestinian people, to displace and dispossess Palestinians on both sides of the Green Line, to deepen its colonization of the occupied Palestinian territory, and to entrench its institutionalized regime of racial segregation, domination, and oppression, amounting to the crimes of forcible transfer and apartheid.” Furthermore, it stresses “the dire need for justice and accountability for widespread and systematic human rights violations committed in the occupied Palestinian territory, including the occupied Gaza strip, in order to hold perpetrators to account and ensure victims can exercise their right to an effective remedy.”
To read the full submission to the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination ahead of Israel’s review, click here.