Human Rights Council Establishes International Commission of Inquiry to Investigate Violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and in Israel

[OPT] Palestine – Israel

Human Rights Council Establishes International Commission of Inquiry to Investigate Violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and in Israel
United Nations Human Rights Council 

27/05/2021

The Human Rights Council this afternoon adopted a resolution on ensuring respect for international human rights law and international humanitarian law in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and in Israel, in which it established an international commission of inquiry to investigate violations of international humanitarian law and all alleged violations and abuses of international human rights law leading up to and since 13 April 2021, and all underlying root causes of recurrent tensions.

The resolution was adopted at the end of a one-day special session of the Human Rights Council on the “grave human rights situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem”.

In the resolution (A/HRC/S-30/L.1), adopted by a vote of 24 in favour, 9 against and 14 abstentions, the Council decides to urgently establish an ongoing independent, international commission of inquiry, to be appointed by the President of the Human Rights Council, to investigate in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and in Israel all alleged violations of international humanitarian law and all alleged violations and abuses of international human rights law leading up to and since 13 April 2021, and all underlying root causes of recurrent tensions, instability and protraction of conflict, including systematic discrimination and repression based on national, ethnic, racial or religious identity. 

The Council also calls upon all relevant parties to cooperate fully with the commission of inquiry and to facilitate its access.  It urges all States to refrain from transferring arms when they assess, in accordance with applicable national procedures and international obligations and standards, that there is a clear risk that such arms might be used in the commission or facilitation of serious violations or abuses of international human rights law or serious violations of international humanitarian law.

Pakistan introduced the draft resolution on behalf of the Organization of Islamic Conference.  Israel and the State of Palestine spoke as a concerned countries.

Speaking in general statements or in statements before or after the vote were Austria, Germany, Russian Federation, United Kingdom, Bahamas, Mexico, Venezuela, France, Bulgaria and the Netherlands

…Speakers said people in Israel, Gaza and the West Bank needed their leaders to make courageous steps towards peace.  Some speakers said that the indiscriminate barrage of rockets fired by Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad into Israel were completely unacceptable.  Other speakers said the Council must do three things: address the root causes of the conflict; call the situation what it was, apartheid and persecution, that is crimes against humanity; and end impunity by creating a standing mechanism – because the problems were systemic, long-lasting and would not be solved overnight.  It was unconscionable that States including the United States, Germany and Italy still supplied weapons and other military assistance to the Israeli Government, despite the clear risk of serious violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law.  Some speakers, expressing their full solidarity with Israel, said they refused to support any investigation or mechanism that victimised and exonerated Hamas and other violent organizations.  There had been an explosion of anti-Semitism in past weeks, the result of the anti-Semitic vilification of Israel, to which the Council provided cover. 

Speaking were Faysal Mekadad, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Expatriates of Syria; Sultan bin Saad Al-muraikhi, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Qatar; Sameh Shoukry, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Egypt; and Dato’ Kamarudin Jaffar, Deputy Foreign Minister of Malaysia.

The following countries also took the floor: Argentina, France, Senegal, Nepal, Bulgaria, Argentina, Netherlands, Philippines, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Jordan, Costa Rica, Djibouti, Mali, Brunei Darussalam, Ireland, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Ecuador, Iraq, Chile, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Malta, Viet Nam, Morocco, Australia, Nigeria, Niger, Algeria, Maldives, Albania, Sovereign Order of Malta, South Africa, United Nations Relief and Works Agency, Peru, Timor-Leste, Oman, Liechtenstein, Yemen, Canada, Holy See, Iran, Colombia, Botswana, New Zealand, Luxembourg, Guyana, United Arab Emirates, Hungary, Sri Lanka, Paraguay, Switzerland and Angola.

The following non-governmental organizations also took the floor: International Commission of Jurists; European Union of Jewish Students; Human Rights Watch; Al-Haq, Law in the Service of Man; Defence for Children International; International Service for Human Rights; Norwegian Refugee Council; Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom; Institute for NGO Research; Ingenieurs du Monde, United Nations Watch; World Jewish Congress; Amnesty International; Caro Institute for Human Rights Studies; ADALAH, Legal Centre for Arab Minority Rights in Israel; International Association of Jewish Lawyers and Jurists; and Women’s Centre for Legal Aid and Counselling.

Israel spoke in a point of order.

This was the thirtieth special session of the Human Rights Council, which was requested by 69 States, of whom 21 are Member States of the Council and 48 are Observer States…