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Al Mezan and PCHR send joint submission to the UN Human Rights Council ahead of Israel’s UPR

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20 October 2022

Gaza, Palestine – 19/10/2022


As part of their engagement with the United Nations (UN) human rights mechanisms, Al Mezan Center for Human Rights and the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) sent a joint submission to the UN Human Rights Council for the fourth cycle Israel’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR). The UPR is a peer-review mechanism conducted under the auspices of the UN Human Rights Council, during which all UN Member States are provided the opportunity to review the human rights records of all other Member States.


The joint submission sheds light on the latest Israeli military attacks carried out against civilians and civilian infrastructure in the Gaza Strip throughout the reporting period. While Palestinians residing in Gaza are still reeling from the recent Israeli military attacks in May 2021 and August 2022, the joint submission underlines the international crimes committed by Israeli authorities against Palestinians in Gaza, including the indiscriminate and disproportionate use of force; willful killing, including by bombarding houses while residents were inside; extensive, unnecessary, and wanton destructing of property. Accordingly, the organizations emphasized that such attacks may amount to war crimes and are part of a widespread and systematic attack against the Palestinian civil population, amounting to crimes against humanity under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.


The joint submission also redraws the Council’s attention to the 15-year-long Israeli blockade and closure of the Gaza Strip and its catastrophic consequences on 2.1 million Palestinians entrapped in the occupied enclave. While the Israeli government purports to justify the closure and the related restrictions under the guise of “security”, the submission placed the Israeli illegal closure of Gaza within the wider framework of Israel’s settler-colonialism and apartheid. The submission details the ramifications of the Israeli illegal closure that have increasingly undermined all aspects of life in occupied Gaza and eroded Palestinians’ enjoyment of all their unalienable rights—including their rights to life, health, work, education, adequate housing, self-determination, and return.


Furthermore, noting how the Palestinian patients from Gaza have been denied their right to access timely and potentially life-saving treatment outside the Strip, the submission reiterated that the Israeli discriminatory permit system threatens the lives of thousands of patients whose treatment is unavailable in the Gaza Strip as a direct consequence of the ongoing blockade and repetitive military attacks that crippled Gaza’s health care system.


Al Mezan and PCHR emphasize that Israel, as the occupying power, has fully ignored recommendations received during previous UPR cycles, including ending the closure of the Gaza Strip, guaranteeing freedom of movement to the entire population, as well as respecting and protecting their human rights. Accordingly, the organizations called on Israel to: 

  • Immediately, fully, and unconditionally lift the illegal closure and blockade of the Gaza Strip and end all associated unlawful restrictions imposed on the movement of people and goods that have already made the Gaza Strip uninhabitable and violate the full spectrum of rights owed to more than two Palestinians in the Gaza Strip by denying them the enjoyment on an equal footing of fundamental rights and freedoms.
  • Uphold its moral and legal obligations vis-à-vis protected persons in the occupied Palestinian territory and abolish any constraints on the freedom of movement of Palestinians, particularly medical patients from Gaza.
  • Refrain from indiscriminate and disproportionate attacks and direct targeting of Palestinian civilians and civilian objects and comply with international humanitarian law principles, including distinction and proportionality.
  • Comply with international human rights law standards on the use of force in law-enforcement operations, under which lethal force can only be used as a last resort to protect against an imminent threat to life and when other, less forceful measures have been exhausted.