IPHRC Message on the ‘International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People 2016,’ calls for protecting the freedom of worship for all Palestinians, especially in the Al-Aqsa Mosque, dismantling the illegal settlements, and for ending the Israeli occupation
On the occasion of the ‘International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian people 2016’, the OIC Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission (IPHRC) joins the international community in observing this important day and underlines the importance of ending the Israeli occupation of Palestine, which is the root cause of all systematic violations of their basic human rights, including the fundamental rights of life, worship and freedom of movement.
During its ongoing 10th Regular Session, IPHRC’s Working Group on Palestine extensively discussed the current situation in Palestine, and finalized the visit report based on eyewitness accounts from its visit to the Occupied Palestinian territories earlier this year. The report reiterated with regret that the devastating life style of the Palestinian people under occupation, was untenable and there was need to come up with concrete and urgent solutions by the international community. It also made practical recommendations on the way forward to promote human rights and hold Israel, the occupying power, accountable for its long-standing violations, including its war crimes in Gaza. The report also affirms that Palestinian civilians are protected persons under the Fourth Geneva Convention and Israeli practices of demolishing Palestinian homes and properties are firmly against the international law. It also called the practices of executing Palestinian protesters as serious war crimes for which Israeli authorities must be held accountable.
Recent developments from the ground indicate that the humanitarian, socioeconomic and security conditions in all Occupied Palestinian territories continues to worsen under Israel’s blatant disregard of International human rights and humanitarian laws. Only in recent months, Israel advanced its illegal settlements plans for constructing more than 2,000 units throughout the West Bank. Palestinians are witnessing unprecedented demolitions of their homes and confiscations of their lands, in addition to continued construction of the racial “annexation wall”, forced displacements, and constant violence perpetrated by Israeli settlers.
IPHRC regretted that Palestinian children under the Israeli occupation represent some of the most vulnerable and affected children in modern times. A large number of children remain in detention and the number has significantly grown since October 2015. Up to date, Israel has arbitrary detained and jailed over 7,500 Palestinian children, which are held in Israeli captivity under appalling, and inhumane conditions. They are often denied their protected rights as minors and are thrown into the military court system. In its recent reports, UNICEF mentioned that ill treatment, including physical and verbal abuse, use of restraints and violent interrogation methods, against Palestinian children in the Israeli military detention system appeared to be widespread, systematic and institutionalized. IPHRC urged Member States and the international community to raise the matter at all relevant international forums and force the Occupying Power to abolish this unlawful practice.
The Commission also strongly condemned the proposed Israeli bill banning the Adhan (call for prayer) in the mosques in the occupied city of Al-Quds and its suburbs. It reminded that such practices constitute a grave violation of the freedom of worship and of the inviolability of sacred sites as well as of the international humanitarian law. Calling the Israeli Adhan ban bill as a serious provocation, IPHRC warned that such Israeli racist practices negatively affect the sentiments of Muslims all over the world, will increase tensions between communities, and could fuel religious conflicts, extremism and violence in the region.
The Commission also strongly condemned the Israeli settlement activities, including the recent bill by the Occupying Power, which aims at legitimizing the colonial settlement areas in the occupied Palestinian territories, including Al-Quds Al-Shareef, and stressed that these illegitimate measures are null and void by virtue of international law and relevant UN resolutions. Should this proposal go ahead, it would seriously undermine the prospects for a two-state solution as it is meant to weaken the capacity of Palestine to function as a viable independent State.
IPHRC commended the continuous efforts by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees UNRWA and other UN agencies to address the plight of Palestinians, particularly in the Gaza Strip and refugee camps in neighboring countries. It also welcomed the renewal of UNRWA mandate for the next three years, and called upon all Member States to explore ways and means to ensure sufficient and predictable funding of its mandate, in order to overcome severe funding shortfalls.
IPHRC called on the international community, particularly the UN Security Council, General Assembly and Human Rights Council as well as the Quartet to assume their responsibility and put an end to the repeated, serious and systematic Israeli violations against people, land and sacred places in Occupied Palestine. The Commission urged Member States to join the ongoing movement of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions on products coming from Israeli settlements. It also urged OIC Member States to take lead in providing political, economic, and diplomatic support, at all levels, to the Palestinian people in their struggle to exercise their inalienable right to self-determination for the establishment of their own independent, viable and contiguous state, with Al -Quds Al-Shareef as its capital including their unquestionable right to return to their homes and property, as decided in various UN Resolutions, and guaranteed by International law.