PHROC Dismayed by Israel’s Election to Chair the General Assembly’s Legal Sixth Committee

NOVANEWS

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On 13 June 2016, Israel won a vote to chair the United Nations Legal Affairs

Sixth Committee (hereinafter the Committee), with the support of 109 member

states.[1] The Committee acts as the central space through which legal questions

are brought before the General Assembly. For 2016-2017, the agenda of the

Committee will include measures to eliminate international terrorism, the rule

of law at national and international levels, and responsibility of States for

internationally wrongful acts, amongst others.[2]

The Palestinian Human Rights Organisations Council (PHROC) reminds the

international community of Israel’s countless policies and measures towards

Palestinians which violate international human rights and humanitarian law,

including UN conventions and resolutions. Such flagrant violations of law have

occurred since the establishment of Israel in 1948. While the UN and the

international community at-large continually condemn Israeli crimes such as the

illegal presence and expansion of settlements, the transfer of civilians, and

excessive use of force against Palestinians, including cases which may amount to

extra-judicial killings, no real action has been taken to change the status quo.[3]

PHROC further notes Israel’s continuous attempts to undermine and obstruct the

work of various UN mechanisms, including the Human Rights Council and treaty

bodies, and its failure to permit entry to UN-mandated Special Rapporteurs.

Such actions weaken essential mechanisms that promote and guarantee

international human rights and justice.

Rather than taking stock of Israel’s history and the current state of Palestinian

rights both in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and within the Green Line and

implement sanctions against Israel, member states instead elected Israel’s UN

Ambassador, Danny Danon, as chair of the Committee. Danon is known for his

rightwing views which contradict basic tenets of international law, including the

annexation of Israeli settlements[4] and the immediate deportation of asylum

seekers.[5]

PHROC is dismayed by Member States who voted in favour of Danon’s appointment,

as well as those who abstained. By electing an individual such as Danon to a legal

committee, the international community’s commitment to human rights and international

law is put into question.

Instead of rewarding Israel, States should work to end the prolonged occupation of Palestine

and hold Israel accountable, by means of sanctions, for its breaches of international law.

In light of this, PHROC considers such vote as evidence to the international community’s failure to respect

and abide by norms of international law.

– ENDS –

Palestinian Human Rights Organizations Council 

Addameer Prisoners’ Support and Human Rights Association
Sahar Francis
General Director
Aldameer Association for Human Rights
Hala Jaber
Al-Haq
Shawan Jabarin
General Director
Al Mezan Center for Human Rights
Issam Younis
General Director
Badil Resource Center for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights
Nidal Azza
General Director
Defence for Children International
Palestine Section
Khaled Kuzmar
General Director
Ensan Center for Human Rights and Democracy
Hasieb Nashashibi
General Director
Hurryyat – Centre for Defense of Liberties and Civil Rights
Helmi Al-araj
General Director
Jerusalem Center for Legal Aid and Human Rights
Issam Aruri
General Director
Ramallah Center for Human Rights Studies
Suhaib Sharif
General Director
Women’s Centre for Legal Aid and Counselling
Randa Sanyora
General Director
The Palestinian Center for Human Rights
Raji Sourani – General Director

 

 

[1] Israel elected to chair UN committee for first time, 14 June 2016, available at http://www.dw.com/en/israel-elected-to-chair-un-committee-for-first-time/a-19327852

[2] General Assembly of the United Nations, Legal – Sixth Committee, available at http://www.un.org/en/ga/sixth/

[3] See for example: UN rights office ‘extremely concerned’ about killing of Palestinian man in West Bank, UN News Centre, 30 March 2016, available athttp://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=53571#.V2FGitJ97IU; Local EU statement on recent demolitions and confiscations in Area C, 24 February 2016,http://eeas.europa.eu/delegations/westbank/documents/news/2016/20160224_eu_local_statement_on_recent_demolitions_and_confiscations_in_area_c_en.pdf; Accelerated Settlement Activity Casts Doubt on Israel’s Commitment to Two-State Solution, Secretary-General Tells Security Council, United Nations Meeting Coverage, 18 April 2016, available at http://www.un.org/press/en/2016/sc12327.doc.htm

[4] Making the Land of Israel Whole, New York Times, 18 May 2011, available at http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/19/opinion/19Danon.html?_r=1

[5] TA anti-African rally ends in rioting, assaults, Jerusalem Post, 24 May 2012, available at http://www.jpost.com/National-News/TA-anti-African-rally-ends-in-rioting-assaults

 

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Palestinian Centre for Human Rights
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