Between 16-20 March 2017, Al-Haq attended the 34th Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council. On 17 March, Al-Haq participated in a side event on “Collective Punishment in Jerusalem” with Badil and St.Yves. The event discussed Israel’s collective punishment measures targeting the protected Palestinian population in Occupied East Jerusalem, where Al-Haq focused on the illegality of such measures under international law.
On 20 March, Al-Haq delivered an oral statement during the General Debate on “Item 7: Human rights situation in Palestine and other occupied Arab territories” and focused on Israel’s policies of colonization, including the recent passage of the new “regularization” law, which aims at confiscating private Palestinian land for the expansion of the settlement enterprise. Al-Haq highlighted that the failure of the international community to act has perpetuated the occupation, and urged Member States to continue developing the database established by the Human Rights Council resolution on Israelis Settlements, 31/36. The database will include businesses that “enabled, facilitated, and profited from” Israel’s settlement activity. These recommendations are in line with the UN Human Rights Council’s resolution which called upon States to “provide guidance to individuals and businesses on the financial, reputational and legal risks […] of becoming involved in settlement-related activities, including through financial transactions, investments, purchases, procurements, loans, [and] the provisions of services”.1 The resolution also called on business enterprises to “take all necessary measure to comply with their responsibilities […] to avoid contributing to the establishment, maintenance, development or consolidation of Israeli settlements or the exploitation of natural resources of the Occupied Palestinian Territory”.2
Al-Haq joined Badil and other Palestinian organizations in advocacy activities in Geneva including meetings with representatives from member states. Topics included: importance of the business database, urging against any delays in its publication; attacks against human rights defenders in Palestine and abroad; and the illegality of collective punishment measures in Occupied East Jerusalem.
Prior to the session’s commencement, Al-Haq along with the Community Action Center-Al Quds University, Al-Quds Human Rights Clinic, Society of St. Yves – Catholic Center for Human Rights, Jerusalem Center for Legal Aid and Human Rights, and Civic Coalition for Palestinian Rights in Jerusalem submitted a written statement to the Council on collective punishment measures targeting women and children in Occupied East Jerusalem, which aims at forcibly transferring Palestinians from the city.
1 Para. 13(c), UN Human Rights Council resolution on Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and in the occupied Syria Golan, 22 March 2017, available at: <http://www.un.org/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=A/HRC/34/L.41/Rev.1>
2 Ibid, para. 14.