Report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967, Michael Lynk (A/HRC/34/70) (Advance unedited version)

Report
from UN Human Rights Council
Published on 16 Mar 2017 View Original

Human Rights Council
Thirty-fourth session
27 February-24 March 2017
Agenda items 7
Human rights situation in Palestine and other occupied Arab territories

Summary

The present report is submitted pursuant to Commission on Human Rights resolution 1993/2 A and Human Rights Council resolution 5/1. The report examines the current human rights situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, with a particular emphasis on the role and challenges faced by human rights defenders.

I. Introduction

1. This is the first report of the Special Rapporteur submitted to the Human Rights Council pursuant to Commission on Human Rights resolution 1993/2 A and Human Rights Council resolution 5/1, having assumed his mandate on 1 May 2016. He is the seventh Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967.

2. The Special Rapporteur would like to draw attention once again to the fact that he has not been granted access to the Occupied Palestinian Territory, nor have his requests to meet with the Permanent Representative of Israel to the United Nations been accepted. The Special Rapporteur notes that an open dialogue among all parties is essential for the protection and promotion of human rights. In addition, the Rapporteur emphasizes that access to the territory is an important component that helps in the development of comprehensive understanding of the situation. While he notes that reliance on the exemplary work of a number of experienced and extremely competent civil society groups provides an excellent basis for his work, he laments being unable to meet many of those carrying out this work, due to his exclusion from the territory and the difficulties these individuals often face when seeking to obtain exit permits from the Israeli authorities, particularly from Gaza.

3. This report is based primarily on written submissions as well as consultations with civil society representatives, victims, witnesses, and United Nations representatives. The Special Rapporteur undertook his first mission to the region, held in Amman, Jordan from 10 to15 July 2016. In addition, throughout December 2016 he held consultations with civil society by video conference, and received a number of written submissions, in particular related to the work of human rights defenders.

4. The present report focuses on the human rights and humanitarian law violations committed by Israel.1 As the occupying Power, Israel has the legal obligation to ensure the respect for and protection of the rights of Palestinians within its control.2 The mandate of the Special Rapporteur thus focuses on the responsibilities of the occupying Power, although he notes that human rights violations by any State party or non-state actors are deplorable and will only hinder the prospects for peace.

5. The Special Rapporteur wishes to express his appreciation for the full cooperation with his mandate extended by the Government of the State of Palestine. The Special Rapporteur also wishes to once again extend his thanks to all those who travelled to Amman in July 2016 to meet with him, and to those who were unable to travel but made written or oral submissions. The Special Rapporteur acknowledges the essential work being done and efforts undertaken by these groups to create an environment in which human rights are respected and violations of human rights and international humanitarian law are not committed with impunity and without witnesses. The Special Rapporteur will support this work as much as possible.

6. The report is written in two parts. First, the report provides an overview of the current human rights situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. This discussion, while not exhaustive, aims to highlight those human rights concerns the Special Rapporteur has identified as particularly pressing.

7. The second part of the report examines the work of human rights defenders in the Occupied Palestinian Territory – examining both the growing challenges they face and the critical work they do in attempting to bring justice to an environment in which human rights are increasingly subverted by a prolonged occupation soon reaching the half-century milestone.