Civil Society and the Question of Palestine - NGO Action news – 31 October 2019
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On 31 October, Al-Haq announced it had participated to the 5th session of the Intergovernmental Working Group (IGWG) on transnational corporations and other business enterprises on 14-18 October. The session, chaired by the Permanent Representative of Ecuador to the United Nations, served to discuss the revised draft of a proposed binding treaty on business and human rights. During its interventions, Al-Haq brought attention to the importance of recognizing the right to self-determination and permanent sovereignty over natural resources within the document. Al-Haq’s engagement during the session also included co-organizing and participating in side events, including an event on “Putting intersectionality front and centre: A UN Treaty to address the impacts of corporate impunity on women and indigenous peoples”.
On 30 October, the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) participated in the conference “Israel’s Collective Punishment in the Occupied Palestinian Territory: Escalated Measures, Impacts, Legal and Advocacy Frameworks” organized by the Community Action centre – Al-Quds University in Jerusalem?. The conference highlighted the issues of Israeli collective punishment and settlement expansion activities.
On 29 October, Al Mezan Center for Human Rights welcomed the Economic, Social and Cultural Rights Committee’s concluding observations on the 4th Periodic Report of Israel. The recommendations adopted the majority of concerns raised in Al Mezan’s list of issues and shadow report to the Committee, focussing for example on the movement restrictions on Palestinian people and goods that serve as the primary obstacle to Gazans’ ability to enjoy their rights under the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR).
On 23 October, BADIL – Resource Centre for Palestinian Residency & Refugee Rights released the ninth instalment of its “Survey of Palestinian Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs)” for the period 2016-2018. BADIL’s main conclusions, since the last survey, are that the Palestinian people have experienced a more limited space to demand and exercise their inalienable rights due to the “rapid advancement of Israeli annexation policies in the West Bank […] coupled with the delegitimization of UNRWA.”
On 15 October, Hamoked – Centre for the Defence of the Individual informed about an urgent letter it had sent to the Israeli military to demand the removal of a barricade of concrete blocks at Qaffin Gate, near Tulkarm in the northern West Bank, preventing farmers from accessing lands trapped between the Separation Wall and the Green Line. Hamoked warned that the roadblock was preventing agricultural work for the olive harvest and that it would have to petition the Israeli High Court of Justice.
- On 21 October, Addameer – Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association completed an advocacy mission to the European Parliament in Brussels, to shed light on the struggle of Palestinian political prisoners in Israeli prisons and the systematic violations to which they are subjected, such as torture and arbitrary detention. In its meetings with parliamentary committees including the Committees on Foreign Affairs and on Relations with Palestine, Addameer called for a serious and effective discussion on these issues in the European Parliament and called on its Member States to adopt effective measures to ensure Israel’s compliance, as the Occupying Power, with its obligations under international law.
On 8 November, the Jerusalem Fund will hold its 2019 annual conference “The Deal of the Century: A Plan to Liquidate the Palestine Question” in Washington, D.C., to consider what must done to keep the issue of Palestine at the front and centre of global policy so that “it does not wither under the weight of fake economic development.”
On 26 October, Americans for Peace Now (APN) hosted two representatives of its sister Israeli organization Peace Now, Shaqued Morag and Brian Reeves, for a panel discussion. The panel addressed the danger to Israel posed by West Bank annexation, both the de-facto annexation that is being advanced every day on the ground and the de-jure annexation that Israeli politicians are vowing to advance.
On 24 October, Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies, Al-Haq, Al-Quds Community Action Centre, Jerusalem Legal Aid and Human Rights Centre (JLAC), Jewish Voice for Peace and US Campaign for Palestinian Rights issued a joint letter to members of the US House of Representatives to urge them to take action against Israel’s violations in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt). The NGOs recommended that the Congressional members call on the US Government to urge the Israeli authorities to end measures and policies resulting in the forcible transfer of Palestinians from their lands, to pursue policies that ensure accountability for Israel’s illegal settlement industry, and to respect and implement differentiation between the oPt and the State of Israel, in line with UN Security Council Resolution 2334.
On 28 October, UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Mladenov delivered a statement to the Security Council on the Situation in the Middle East, in which he reminded that despite of collective efforts to prevent war in Gaza, these efforts cannot be sustained on a purely humanitarian basis and a political perspective should be the way forward to intra-Palestinian unity and the two-State solution. He warned against settlement construction and expansion and the Palestinian Authority’s financial crisis that is not fully resolved and called for Israelis and Palestinians to return to the negotiations with the goal of two States, living side-by-side in peace, security and mutual recognition, based on relevant UN resolutions, international law and prior agreements.
On 28 October, a Vice-Chair of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People Gertze delivered a statement during the Security Council debate on the situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question. The Committee expressed its profound concern about escalating rhetoric and threats by Israeli officials regarding intentions to annex settlements and the Jordan Valley. The Committee also urged Israeli authorities to abide by international law and avoid actions undermining the historic and legal status quo and sanctity of the holy sites. The Vice-Chair warned the international community was at a critical juncture and that it must implement all the resolutions adopted by the Council and shoulder its collective responsibility vis-à-vis past and future generations of Palestinians and Israelis.
On 21-25 October, the UN Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People organized, jointly with the Senegalese Government, a seminar and field visit for Palestinian officials on best practices in water management. The seminar was held in Dakar and was followed by a visit to the Senegal River. The seminar consisted of interactive presentations on best practices by Senegalese experts to help address Palestine’s challenges in water availability, ground water access, wastewater treatment, water quality and peaceful negotiation of transboundary water issues.
This newsletter informs about recent and upcoming activities of Civil Society Organizations affiliated with the United Nations Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People. The Committee and the Division for Palestinian Rights of the UN Secretariat provide the information “as is” without warranty of any kind, and do not accept any responsibility or liability for the accuracy, or reliability of the information contained in the websites linked in the newsletter.