Press Releases

World Refugee Day – UN Member States and Special Procedures Reaffirm the Palestinian People’s Rights to Return and Self-Determination
World Refugee Day – UN Member States and Special Procedures Reaffirm the Palestinian People’s Rights to Return and Self-Determination

As we commemorate the World Refugee Day 2023, we also commemorate 75 years of the Ongoing Nakba of the Palestinian People which has resulted in creating, sustaining and augmenting the largest and most protracted displaced population in the world. Today, Palestinian refugees and internally displaced persons account for 66 percent of the Palestinian people with a staggering population of 9.17 million. The Ongoing Nakba is perpetrated by the 3 pillars of the Israeli regime of domination: forcible transfer, colonization and apartheid.  

On this occasion, UN independent experts and states at the Human Rights Council, made important statements acknowledging and reaffirming that more than seven decades after the Nakba, the denial of self-determination and return of the Palestinian people continue to be the root causes that the international community must address to achieve accountability and justice. 

Eight UN special procedures mandate holders called on the international community to adopt a rights-based approach to recognize and uphold the rights of Palestinian refugees and internally displaced persons, prioritizing their “individual and collective right of return.” The experts emphasized that “the right of return constitutes a fundamental pillar of the Palestinian people's right to self-determination. The fragmentation of the Palestinian people, both geographically and politically, through administrative methods of control based on residency and race, tantamount to apartheid, has obstructed the realisation of the right to return and self-determination. These practices serve the settler-colonial project pursued by Israel.”

The experts repeated that “since 1948, both the General Assembly and the Security Council have consistently called upon Israel to facilitate the return of Palestinian refugees and provide reparations”, and that “despite these repeated appeals, Palestinian refugees have been systematically denied of their right to return and forced to live in exile under precarious and vulnerable conditions outside the borders of Palestine.”

BADIL’s Advocacy Manager emphasized that “the adoption of a rigorous rights-based decolonization approach is the way forward to achieve a just and sustainable solution that addresses the root causes and ensures the rights of return and self-determination of the Palestinian people.” 

In the interactive dialogue with the Commission of Inquiry on Israel and the oPt, more than 72 states addressed, in individual and joint statements, the 75 years of denial of the Palestinian people’s right to self-determination. This includes more than 36 states, which, in two joint statements, urged the CoI to focus, in its work and upcoming reports, on the root causes of the situation, including by investigating the 75 years of denial of the Palestinian people’s right to self-determination and the return of Palestinian refugees. 

During the interactive dialogue with the High Commissioner for Human Rights, the mission of Palestine emphasized that “the Ongoing Nakba is maintained by Israel’s colonial-apartheid policies and practices”, stressing that “for more than 75 years, the Israeli-perpetrated ongoing Nakba that has resulted in the protracted forced displacement of 66 percent of the Palestinian people.”

This comes following the Universal Periodic Review of Israel, where at least 9 states from Africa, Asia, Latin America and Europe made recommendations to Israel with regards to apartheid, self-determination and refugee return.

BADIL continues to work to promote and defend the right of Palestinian refugees and internally displaced persons to reparations, this includes repatriation to their homes and lands, to property restitution, as well as compensation for losses and damages sustained and guarantees of non-repetition. 

BADIL calls on the international community to fulfill their responsibilities under international law and implement practical measures to hold Israel accountable and ensure the realization of return and self-determination.