Human Rights Council 24th Session: Al-Haq Presents Statements on ‘Firing Zone 918’ and Ensuring that International Legal Standards Constitute the Foundation of United Nations and Middle East Peace Negotiations
Today, 23 September, Al-Haq will present an oral statement to the United Nations Human Rights Council for its 24th session. The statement will be delivered during the General Debate on "Item 7: Human rights situation in Palestine and other occupied Arab territories" and will focus on the area of Masafer Yatta, located in the southern West Bank.
Al-Haq will discuss how communities, who have lived in Masafer Yatta since the early 19th century, have faced continued obstacles to their residence in this area since the 1980s, when Israel designated it a closed military zone, known as 'Firing Zone 918'. Al-Haq will warn against the exposure of the villagers to forcible transfer, which amounts to a grave breach of the Geneva Conventions and a war crime. The residents of Masafer Yatta villages have become increasingly vulnerable to the risk of forcible transfer since July 2012, when the Israeli authorities confirmed their intention to evacuate 8 of the 12 villages located in the area.
Al-Haq will also today participate in a side event organised by Badil Resource Center for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights. The event will bring together panellists from academic institutions and non-governmental organisations to discuss whether the credibility of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) is at stake and to call for accountability, human rights protection and effective tackling of impunity.
On 24 September Al-Haq will present an oral statement under item 7, along with the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies. The statement will welcome the Secretary General's report on the human rights situation in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem and the new European Union (EU) guidelines on the eligibility of Israeli entities and their activities in the territories occupied by Israel since June 1967 for grants, prizes and financial instruments funded by the EU from 2014 onwards. However, the statement will note with regret the ongoing efforts made by the EU at the Human Rights Council to cancel agenda item 7 and it will voice the concern of both organisations regarding the ongoing expansion of illegal Israeli settlements.
Finally, the Palestinian Human Rights Organizations Council (PHROC) will submit a written statement under item 7 calling for international legal standards to constitute the foundation of United Nations and Middle East peace negotiations. In this statement, PHROC expresses its deep regret at the manifest disposition displayed by the international community, including Member States of the United Nations – both within the framework of the UN and bilaterally – to disregard the pursuit of justice and accountability in favour of political expediency in response to Israel's occupation of Palestine.