The UN Human Rights Council will discuss Thursday the creation of a broad international inquiry into the violations surrounding the latest violence in Gaza, but also into the “systematic” abuses in the Palestinian territories and inside. from Israel.
The proposal submitted to the main United Nations human rights body calls for an unprecedented level of scrutiny of abuses and their “root causes” in the decades-long conflict in the Middle East.
The draft resolution presented by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation will be debated at a special one-day Council session devoted to the rise in deadly violence between Israelis and Palestinians this month.
The session of the 47-member council, requested by Pakistan on behalf of the OIC and the Palestinian Authority, will begin at 8:00 GMT with a statement by UN chief of rights Michelle Bachelet.
Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki was among those expected to speak at the session, as was Meirav Eilon Shahar, Israel’s Ambassador to the UN in Geneva. On Wednesday, she attacked both the session and the draft resolution.
Their “sole purpose”, she said, was “to blame Israel, to whitewash the crimes committed by Hamas, and for the Palestinian Authority to avoid assuming its responsibilities to its own people.”
– ‘Root causes’ –
The text, which should be voted on Thursday afternoon, calls on the Council to “urgently create an independent and permanent international commission of inquiry … in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem and in Israel”.
Investigators, according to the text, should probe “all alleged violations and abuses” of international law linked to the tensions that triggered the latest violence.
Before a truce took hold last Friday, Israeli airstrikes and artillery fire in Gaza killed 253 Palestinians, including 66 children, and injured more than 1,900 people in 11 days of conflict from May 10, according to the Gaza health ministry.
Rockets and other fire from Gaza killed 12 in Israel, including an Arab-Israeli child and teenager, an Israeli soldier, an Indian national and two Thai workers, doctors said. Some 357 people in Israel were injured.
But the draft text goes well beyond the most recent conflict, also calling on investigators to probe “the underlying root causes of recurring tensions and instability, including systematic discrimination and repression based on the group identity ”.
The investigation should focus on establishing the facts and gathering evidence and other material that could be used in legal proceedings, and where possible, identifying the perpetrators to ensure that they are held accountable. , did he declare.
– ‘Systemic impunity’ –
“The long-standing and systemic impunity for violations of international law has thwarted justice, created a protection crisis and undermined all efforts to reach a just and peaceful solution,” the draft text states.
If the resolution passes, it would create the council’s very first open-ended commission of inquiry (COI) – the highest-level investigation that can be ordered by the council.
Other IOCs, like the one on Syria, need their mandate renewed each year.
And although the council has previously ordered eight investigations into rights violations in the Palestinian territories, it would be the first to be mandated to examine the “root causes” of the protracted conflict, and also to investigate systematic abuses. committed in Israel.
Khalil Hashmi, Pakistan’s ambassador to the UN in Geneva, told reporters on Wednesday that the recent violence was only the latest in a long cycle, and stressed the need for the investigation to have a “Permanent status”.
Twenty of the 47 members of the Council were among the 66 countries that supported the holding of the special session.
The rights council holds three ordinary sessions each year, but may hold special sessions with the support of at least one third of the members.
Thursday will mark the 30th extraordinary meeting since the council was formed 15 years ago.
It will be the ninth focused on Israel, which has long complained of facing prejudice in the Council. Ambassador Eilon Shahar said this last special session marked “a further tarnishing (of) the moral values it is supposed to uphold”.
She called on all member states “to assume their moral responsibility and oppose the resolution”.
© 2021 AFP