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On 63rd Anniversary of Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Israel Continues to Violate Palestinian Human Rights amid Silence from the International Community

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11 December 2011 |Reference 91/2011

Yesterday, Saturday 10 December 2011, marks the 63rd anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR).
  It is an occasion on which people around the world celebrate their achievements in promoting and protecting the internationally acknowledged human rights and values of liberty, equality, and nondiscrimination.
  Many States seize the occasion to celebrate their progress in promoting respect for their people’s human rights.
  The occasion offers human rights organizations an opportunity to reiterate the moral and legal obligations placed on states and on the international community to ensure full respect for individual and collective rights as enshrined in the UDHR, under which nations have united in a pledge to promote and respect human rights and fundamental freedoms around the world.
  It is an occasion to re-emphasize the importance of achieving justice in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt).
  It is also an opportunity to assert the Palestinians’ entitlement to enjoy all their rights under international law and to remind the international community of its obligations in the face of the flagrant Israeli abuses committed against the Palestinian people, which are carried out amidst international silence.
  In its Article 2, the UDHR declares that every human being is “entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind” and that “no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty.
”  Therefore, the Al Mezan Center for Human Rights asserts the importance of utilizing this opportunity to confront the increasing violations of human rights in the oPt and to ensure the legitimate rights of Palestinians, particularly the right to self-determination.
  The current situation in the oPt shows that the IOF continues to violate international law and human rights principles, particularly those of the UDHR.
  The illegal Israeli occupation continues.
  Acts of killing and torture, infliction of severe harm on people and property, and imposition of punitive restrictions on the movement of people and goods all continue along with unjust sanctions in the humanitarian sphere.
  Hundreds of patients cannot access hospitals or necessary medicine in one of the most shameful forms of collective punishment.
  All these acts constitute violations of the UDHR.
  According to Al Mezan’s documentation, since 10 December 2010, the IOF has killed about 130 persons in Gaza, including 16 children and two women; arrested 68 persons, including nine children; damaged 150 houses, 10 of which were totally destroyed; razed and leveled about 9,260 square meters of agricultural lands; and damaged 50 public facilities, four of which were totally destroyed.
  21 of the 50 facilities hit were educational in nature, and one was a medical facility.
  In addition, the IOF has damaged 20 shops and 22 factories, six of which were totally destroyed, and 17 vehicles, three of them were totally destroyed.
  On the 63rd anniversary of the UDHR, Al Mezan emphasizes the importance of all the Declaration’s articles and of the other international human right conventions and principles, including the right to life and liberty, freedom of expression, freedom from torture and inhumane treatment, the right to a fair trial, and the right to health and adequate living standards.
  The core purpose of the human rights system is to ensure that humans live in dignity, not persecution.
  It is for this reason that this system places specific obligations on states and the international community to respect, protect, and fulfill the rights and entitlements established by it.
  While human rights violations remain a daily reality in the oPt, the international community persists in its silence and continues to forsake its moral and legal obligations towards the Palestinian people.
  The Al Mezan Center for Human Rights re-emphasizes that this occasion must be utilized to remind the international community and the UN of their legal and moral obligations under the UDHR and of the necessity to work towards ending human rights violations in the oPt, disregarding political considerations when human rights are at stake.
  It also calls on the international community to uphold its legal obligations, to implement the principle of accountability, and to bring to justice those who have ordered or committed violations of human rights.