GICJ calls to end occupation in Palestine
“Palestinians are humans and humans have the right to life and dignity and self-determination”
On Monday 10 June 2013, during the 23rd session of the Human Rights Council, on behalf of over 300 NGOs, Geneva International Centre for Justice (GICJ) addressed the Human Rights Council and the Special Rapporteur on Palestine during the interactive dialogue and the general debate on agenda item 7, human rights situation in Palestine and other occupied Arab territories. The statements were delivered by Issa Amro, coordinator of Youth Against Settlements (YAS) and OHCHR human rights defender in Palestine of the year 2010, and Daniela Dönges from GICJ. The statements addressed key issues such as settler’s violence, prison conditions and the disastrous impact of settlements at the example of Hebron and called on the international community to finally end discrimination and impunity.
During the Interactive dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on Palestine, Dr. Richard Falk, Daniela Dönges, Geneva International Centre for Justice (GICJ), delivered an oral joint statement with EAFORD and Hebron International Resource Network. Her statement addressed the worrying increase of settler violence, that, carried out with impunity, have to be considered an essential part of the creeping land annexation. In order to restore peace and justice she thus supported calls to investigate and end all business activities that profit from Israeli settlements.
Full text of the statement:
Thank you Mr President
This is a joint statement with Geneva International Centre for Justice and Hebron International Resource Network.
We would like to thank the SR for his comprehensive report. We regret to learn about the continuing non-cooperation of Israel, preventing him from exercising his mandate, which is a further slap into the face of this council. We also find it highly deplorable to read about efforts to demean his character rather than engage in a constructive dialogue about the issues at stake.
Mr Special Rapporteur, we would like to draw your attention to the increasing wave of settler violence. In your report you mention 146 reported cases, but the dark figures are much higher. The increase is especially alarming, since settler violence does not only mean everyday suffering for the Palestinians; it is also part of a broader strategy, aimed at pushing Palestinians from the area. These incidents do not only range from physical assault to vandalism, but also include death threats, cars being torched, beating up of shepherds, burning of fields as well as the poisoning of water cisterns.
As you righty pointed out, many of these incidents take place in the presence of security forces but it is important to add that frequent times the victims are arrested instead of the offenders. This happened in May, when 51 year old Zleikha Muhtaseb, who lives in a particular targeted area of Hebron’s old city, was arrested from her home after settlers had thrown stones at her windows. Such a policy is not only discriminatory; it is also an essential factor of the creeping land annexation.
Mr Special Rapporteur, our NGOs fully support your suggestion to investigate and end all business activities that profit from Israeli settlements. For too long Israel has violated not only international law but also all basic human rights. Ending the current situation, ending impunity is essential to the restoration of peace, which will not only be in the interest of the Palestinians, but also Israel itself and the world. Thank you for your attention.
The second statement during the Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights on Palestinian territories occupied since 1967 was delivered by Issa Amro, Hebron, OHCHR human rights defender of the year 2010 in Palestine. His statement was joint by Youth Against Settlements and addressed the disastrous situation of Palestinian prisoners. Based on his own experience in Israeli prisons after having been arbitrarily arrested numerous times, he addressed the daily humiliation and inhuman conditions in Israeli jails and detention centers. He called to boycott Israel as the only way to stop these crimes. He also demanded to take all responsible to the ICC.
Full text of the statement:
Thank you Mr President,
This is a joint statement with Geneva international Center for Justice and Youth Against Settlements. We would like to thank Mr Richard Folk the Special Reporter on Palestine for his accurate report.
Mr Special Rapporteur. You address the situation of Palestinian detainees in Israeli prisons. I hope my presence will give a face to all of them. My name is Issa Amro and I am OHCHR human rights defender of the year 2010 in Palestine.
As a human rights defender I’ve had the privilege to see Israeli prisons from the inside many times. Alone in 2012 I was detained over 20 times. We were denied any basic rights. Our food was whatever the soldiers left, who were shouting at us all the time. We had to kneel in front of them, we were forced to wear filthy clothes, remain handcuffed for hours. They did everything to destroy our dignity. After each release, I went sick. I can tell you, the Israeli Government is lying about prison conditions and security excuses.
Mr Special Rapporteur, several urgent appeals have been issued on my behalf, also to your office. I am strictly committed to non-violent protest. We document human rights violations, we organize demonstrations and sit-ins, demand to end the apartheid and re-open Hebron’s Old City for all. But never have we taken any recourse to violence. According to my Israeli lawyer, all my arrests were arbitrary.
My case is no individual case. Israeli occupation forces systematically target Human rights defenders in Palestine with arbitrary arrest, torture, and death threats. There is the case of Jawwad Siam, there is Basem Tamimi and Nowadays Sireen Khdeerat. Her case is still pending.
Finally: Mr Falk, We are human targets, for settlers and occupation forces alike. We support all calls to boycott Israel. This is the only way to stop these crimes. We also demand that all responsible will be taken to the ICC.
The second statement delivered by Issa Amro was delivered during the General Debate under agenda item 7. He addressed the impact of the settlements on the human rights situation in Palestine. Based on the example of Hebron he described how the existence of settlements makes the life of Palestinians impossible in their own city and violates every single of their basic human rights, up to the point that the people in Hebron are losing their own place. He urged the international community not to leave them alone in their struggle and to intervene in order to ensure the Palestinian’s right to life and dignity and self-determination.
Full text of the statement:
Thank you Madam Vice-President.
This is a joint statement from Geneva international Center for Justice and Youth Against Settlements. Please close your eyes and imagine what I am talking about.
I am from Hebron, in Palestine. Hebron reflects all aspects of the Israeli occupation on a small scale, because settlements have been installed in the very heart of the city. This makes the life of my people a disaster. We don’t feel safe in our homes; nobody would protect us from settler attacks.
The right to housing and non-discrimination is violated. The main street has been closed to Palestinians by military orders. Only settlers can pass. More than 1000 families were forced to leave, and 1800 shops closed in favor of the occupying power. The unemployment rate is now over 70 percent in the closed area. Nobody can deny this is apartheid.
The freedom of movement is violated by more than 100 road blocks, gates, and check points. This makes the life of Palestinians impossible in their own city. By now many human rights organizations - Israeli and Palestinian - describe Hebron as a ghost town.
Humiliation, body search of women and children is part of the daily life, as well as prevention from passing and detentions at checkpoints. There are even heavy restrictions on emergency ambulance travel. With 3 check points on the way to the city’s mosque even the freedom of religion is violated.
Madam Vice- President, occupation forces and settlers together are trying to ethnically cleanse the area from Palestinians. We are losing our own city. What we are facing on a small scale is symbolic for the entire West Bank.
Finally, we urge the international community to not leave us alone in our struggle. Palestinians are humans. And humans have the right to life and dignity and self-determination.
Thank you for your attention
GICJ Activities on the Human Rights situation in Palestine and other occupied Arab territories
GICJ Urgent Appeals on Palestine:
- GICJ - Punishing people for the misdeeds of others clearly violates international law - July 2014
- A match in the powder keg: The occupying force continues to contravene international law - April 2014
- GICJ – Urgent Appeal on the Forcible eviction of Ein Hijleh - February 2014
- UN press release on behalf of Issa Amro - September 2013
- GICJ –Urgent appeal following arbitrary arrest of Sireen Khudiri - June 2013
- GICJ – Follow-up appeal on behalf of HR defender - June 2013
- GICJ - Follow-up appeal on the case of Mr. Issa Amro - April 2013
- GICJ - Urgent Appeal to the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders - March 2013
- GICJ – Urgent Appeal to the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Palestinian territories occupied since 1967 - February 2013
GICJ Side-Events and oral statements on Palestine:
Human Rights Council - 30th regular session (14 September - 2 October 2015)
Human Rights Council - 29th regular session (15 June - 3 July 2015)
Human Rights Council - 21st special session on the human rights situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem (23 July 2014)
Human Rights Council - 26th regular session (10 - 27 June 2014):
Human Rights Council - 25th regular session (3 - 28 March 2014):
Human Rights Council - 24th regular session (9 - 27 September 2013):
- Side-event: Human Rights in Palestine - Palestinian Refugees in Diaspora and their Right of Return, Where to?
- Side-event: Human Rights in Middle East - Give Peace a chance
- Democracy and the Right to self-determination
- GICJ statements on Palestine
Human Rights Council - 23rd regular session (27 May - 14 June 2013):