Today, the United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (the Committee) will begin its review of Israel’s human rights record at its 47th session in Geneva. In light of this occasion, Al-Haq has submitted two joint parallel reports to the Committee to shed light on Israel’s failure to uphold the basic rights enshrined in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (the Covenant).
The first parallel report, endorsed by Addameer Prisoners’ Support and Human Rights Association, Defence for Children International – Palestine Section, the Jerusalem Legal Aid and Human Rights Center and the Women’s Centre on Legal Aid and Counseling, highlights the detrimental effects of a number of Israel’s occupation policies on Palestinian rights to non-discrimination, work, housing, education, health and culture. In light of the ongoing violations, the Committee has been asked to urge Israel to reduce barriers to Palestinians’ enjoyment of these rights by dismantling the Annexation Wall to allow for unhindered freedom of movement across the OPT, limiting the size of the no-go zone in the Gaza Strip to a strict minimum, and freezing its settler-colonial project while abolishing the extra-territorial application of Israeli civil law to the settler population in the OPT.
The focus of the second parallel report, submitted jointly by Al-Haq and the Emergency Water Sanitation and Hygiene group (EWASH), is on Israel’s grave violations of Palestinians’ right to water in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT). The report emphasises the gross disparities between water allocated to illegal Israeli settlements and Palestinian communities and also considers the water and sanitation crisis resulting from Israel’s illegal closure of the Gaza Strip. As a result, Al-Haq and EWASH recommend that the Committee urge Israel to take immediate steps to ensure equitable access to and distribution of water to Palestinians living in the OPT, and to lift the closure on the Gaza Strip, which is a root cause of the violations concerning the right to water therein.
As the information collected in these two reports indicates, Israel has failed to fulfill its obligations under the Covenant. While Al-Haq attends Israel’s review session on the 16 and 17 of November, we call upon the Committee to adopt the recommendations of both reports to ensure that Israel must answer for its continuing violations of the Covenant in the OPT.
The joint parallel reports are also available on the website of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights at the following links.