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Al Mezan concludes participation at UN Human Rights Council 52 and UPR 43 Pre-session

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13 April 2023 |Reference 14/2023

Al Mezan Center for Human Rights concluded its participation in the 52nd regular session of the UN Human Rights Council, which took place in Geneva from 27 February to 4 April 2023. This session came at a critical time for Palestinians in the occupied Palestinian territory (OPT), who are countering yet another deadly year as more than 89 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces and settlers in the West Bank since the beginning of this year (as of 23rd March 2023) while the clouds of a new military attack are looming over the Gaza Strip.

Before the session, Al Mezan presented a written submission highlighting the discriminatory nature of Israel’s permit regime, which is a tool serving its apartheid against the Palestinian people. In particular, the submission reported testimonies of Palestinian families and couples to whom Israel continues to deny the right to family life. 

During the session, Al Mezan delivered an oral intervention under Agenda  Item 2 during the Interactive Dialogue with UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, who presented his latest report on the ‘Human Rights Situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and the Obligation to Ensure Accountability and Justice’. The statement critically asserted that the international community’s inaction towards Israeli crimes has encouraged Israel to escalate the commission of its systematic and gross violations of Palestinians’ inalienable rights for over 75 years.

As part of its regular engagement with the Council, Al Mezan took the floor during the General Debate under Agenda Item 7 and called for the Council and the international community to recognize and condemn Israel’s apartheid regime against the Palestinian people. Al Mezan stressed that Israel’s apartheid practices against Palestinians on both sides of the Green Line are getting even more vicious, with the new far-right Israeli government clearly pledged to advance discriminatory policies to maintain its colonial apartheid. The statement also notes that Israeli apartheid is clearly manifested through its 16-year-long illegal closure of Gaza, which aimed at segregating 2.3 million Palestinians in an isolated enclave. It stated: “The closure [of Gaza] is critically observed as an integral part of Israel’s ubiquitous apartheid regime against the Palestinian people as a whole”.

In parallel to the Council, and ahead of Israel’s upcoming Universal Periodic Review (UPR), Al Mezan and partners also participated at the 43rd UPR Pre-Session organized by the Geneva-based organization UPR-Info. In a joint statement by Al Mezan, Adalah, and Al-Haq, the organizations called on States to make recommendations to Israel addressing key issues such as Israeli laws, policies, and practices that have distinct characteristics of apartheid against Palestinians, excessive use of force against Palestinians, and lack of accountability and perpetuating impunity. Critically, Israel’s fourth UPR will take place on 9 May 2023.

At the end of the 52nd Council session, Member States adopted three resolutions on Palestinians’ right to self-determination, Israeli settlements in the OPT (both under Item 7), and the human rights situation in the OPT and the obligation to ensure accountability and justice (under Item 2).