28th special session of the Human Rights Council on the deteriorating human rights situation in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem
18 May 2018
Statement of International-Lawyers.Org
Delivered by Ms. Madeleine Cowper - Geneva International Centre for Justice
Mr President, International-Lawyers.Org welcomes this special session investigating the situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.
The massacre that occurred on the 14th of May is another example of the war crimes committed by Israel against the Palestinian people during this long occupation. Under international law, people have the right to peaceful assembly and expression. In addition, international law prohibits the use of lethal force against civilians unless they participate directly in acts of hostility or pose a concrete risk to life. Participation in a demonstration does not, in and of itself, constitute an act of hostility or direct endangerment of life, and therefore does not justify the use of live bullets.
Palestinians have been subject to a variety of abuses of their human rights including extrajudicial killings and detentions, inhumane and violent treatment, denial of medical care, denial of free-movement and expression, the destruction of property, and unfairness in judicial proceedings. The shocking lack of accountability for the crimes committed in Palestine is what has allowed and will allow these crimes to continue throughout the decades, unless urgent and definitive action is taken. Therefore, we urge the council to investigate whether Israel is committing genocide against the people of Palestine.
None of the violations can be adequately addressed without ending the illegal occupation and guaranteeing the Palestinian people their right to self-determination. Therefore, we reiterate our recommendations to the international community to spare no efforts to establish a just, comprehensive and lasting peace in the region by granting the Palestinian people their right to self-determination and to independence in their State of Palestine, with East Jerusalem as its capital, and their right to freely determine their political status and advance their economic, social, and cultural development.
Thank you, Mr President.