(20 March 2020) Engagement with the 43rd Session of the UNHRC: Calling for Israeli Accountability



Within the 43rd regular session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), BADIL joined 13 other Palestinian and regional organizations to demand accountability for Israeli human rights violations and international crimes committed against the Palestinian people through the submission of five written statements.
The five submissions addressed Israel’s illegal blockade of the Gaza Strip, the systematic torture and ill-treatment of Palestinian detainees in Israeli interrogation centers, the de-Palestinianization of Jerusalem through the education system, the failure to release the UN database of businesses operating in Israeli-Jewish colonies, and Israel’s entrenchment of its apartheid regime over the Palestinian people as a whole.
Since the submission of these joint written statements, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), following a UN resolution issued in March 2016 (Resolution 31/36), released the UN database of corporations on 12 February 2020. The list (A/HRC/43/71, available here) includes 112 corporations – mostly Israeli - complicit in human rights violation in the West Bank.
The 43rd session of the UNHRC proceeded with significant irregularities. Firstly, in order to ensure safety and overall well-being, civil society participation was cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Second and more importantly, the NGO Liaison Secretariat of the UNHRC objected to the use of the word ‘regime’ in describing Israel’s laws, policies and practices against the Palestinian people. These objections signify the Council’s unease in recognizing and utilizing the appropriate terminology to describe the international crimes perpetrated by Israel, thereby thwarting the implementation of accountability and protection mechanisms to ensure the fulfilment of the rights of the Palestinian people.