The United Nations Human Rights Council assembly room. Photo: AFP
The Human Rights Council on Friday held general debates on the Universal Periodic Review and on the human rights situation in Palestine and other occupied Arab territories.
The Council also heard the presentation of a report by the High Commissioner for Human Rights on the allocation of water resources in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem, and an oral update by the High Commissioner on the implementation of resolution S-30/1.
In the general debate on the Universal Periodic Review, speakers said that this unique mechanism made it possible to contribute to the improvement of the human rights situation in all 193 United Nations Member States. Some speakers pointed out that the lack of progress in the realisation of human rights was not on account of a lack of willingness on the part of States but due to a lack of capacity to achieve targets.
One speaker said the Universal Periodic Review was not an isolated process but should be closely linked to and complementary with the work of treaty bodies and other United Nations human rights mechanisms as well as the work of national human rights institutions and civil society organizations.
Speaking in the general debate on the Universal Periodic Review were Slovenia on behalf of the European Union, Malaysia on behalf of Association of Southeast Asian Nations, Pakistan on behalf of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, Azerbaijan on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, Belgium on behalf of a group of countries, India on behalf of a group of countries, Venezuela, Indonesia, Bahrain, Cuba, India, China, Sudan, Iraq, South Africa, Kenya, Belarus, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Georgia, Algeria, Lesotho, Guyana, Gambia, Tunisia and Iran.
The Council then heard the presentation of a report and an oral update under agenda item 7 on the human rights situation in Palestine and other occupied Arab territories.
Christian Salazar Volkmann, Director of the Field Operations and Technical Cooperation Division of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, introducing the report on the allocation of water resources in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem, pursuant to Human Rights Council resolution 43/32, said it presented a rights-based analysis of the allocation of water resources in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem.
The report found that water was unavailable in a sufficient and continuous manner in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, with nearly 660,000 Palestinians having limited access to water. The report also found that water was inequitably distributed between Palestinians and Israelis. The quality of water in Gaza was of low standards and 96 per cent of households received water that did not meet drinking water quality standards.
Salazar Volkmann, presenting an oral update on the implementation of resolution S-30/1 under item 7, recalled that resolution S-30/1 decided to “urgently establish an ongoing independent, international commission of inquiry, to be appointed by the President of the Human Rights Council, to investigate in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and in Israel all alleged violations of international humanitarian law and all alleged violations and abuses of international human rights law leading up to and since 13 April 2021”.
Israel was not present to take the floor as a country concerned.
State of Palestine, speaking as a country concerned, said Israel’s theft of water deprived Palestinians of the right to water. Ninety-seven per cent of the water available in Gaza could no longer be used. The share of water available to Israeli settlers was not the same as what was available for Palestinians. Israel continued to Jewdify Jerusalem and expel the Palestinian population. The 13-year blockade of Gaza had prevented reconstruction efforts and was an obstacle to distributing vaccines. All of these practices were a systematic apartheid type policy.
Syria, speaking as a country concerned, said Israel consolidated its occupation through settlements and their expansion, as well as confiscation of lands, looting of natural resources, and transferring people to the occupied lands in order to methodologically change the demographics in a total disregard of its commitments under international law and the Geneva Conventions. Item 7 on the situation of human rights in Palestine and other occupied Arab States was an important tool to monitor and document the violations by Israel.