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Al Mezan Director Participates in Human Rights Council Meeting and Continues his Tour to Strengthen International Efforts to Prosecute Israeli War Criminals

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24 March 2009 |Reference 07/2009

Issam Younis, the director of Al Mezan Center for Human Rights, this week continued his European tour in coordination with the International Coalition for Trying Israeli War Criminals.
During the tour, which commenced on 17 March 2009 and centered around Geneva and Paris, Mr.
Younis met with a number of officials including the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the occupied Palestinian territories, Professor Richard Falk.
Younis gave a presentation at the UN premises in Geneva (the Palais des Nations) attended by around 100 people including members of diplomatic missions to the UN, other diplomats and civil society representatives.
In his presentation, Mr.
Younis described the course of the Israeli offensive against Gaza which commenced on the morning of 27 December 2008 and continued for 23 days.
He also made several observations which confirmed the perpetration by the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) of far-reaching war crimes – unprecedented in scale since the occupation commenced in 1967.
    At a Human Rights Council meeting in which Professor Falk presented a report, Mr.
Younis called for an investigation into Israeli war crimes.
Younis commended Professor Falk's efforts and professionalism and expressed support from Al Mezan and all other Palestinian organizations.
He emphasized the need to combine efforts to hold Israel fully accountable for the war crimes it has perpetrated.
It should be noted that on 14 December 2008, the Israeli authorities refused Professor Falk entry into the West Bank.
Professor Falk had intended to visit the occupied Palestinian territories for a week to evaluate the state of human rights there.
Younis also gave a lecture in Paris, which was attended by a large number of Palestinians, other Arabs and media agencies.
He talked about the state of human rights in the Gaza Strip and the latest Israeli offensive.
He emphasized the need to intensify grassroots efforts in European capitals in order to apply pressure on governments to take a strong stance on the perpetration of human rights violations and war crimes.
He stressed the unifying nature of the struggle for justice and the realization of universal human rights.
  In all his meetings with diplomats and civil society representatives, Mr.
Younis focused on the imperative not to allow Israeli war criminals to escape punishment for their crimes.
He stressed also that the credibility of the international community is at stake and that grassroots and institutional efforts – and especially advocacy and solidarity activities – must continue in order to expose the reality of Israeli leaders as war criminals.
  It is expected that Mr.
Younis will participate in preparatory meetings for the Durban Review Conference against Racism and Racial Discrimination to be held in Cairo 28 – 29 March 2009.