As had been anticipated, the State of
Israel has failed to attend its Universal Periodic Review (UPR) by the United Nations
Human Rights Council (HRC), which was scheduled to take place today, 29 January
2013. The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) submitted a shadow
report to the HRC in July 2012, in anticipation of Israel’s appearance at
the UN body’s 15th Session.
Israel’s decision to boycott the UPR is yet
another demonstration of its contempt for international human rights norms, and
is made possible by the complacency of the international community. The failure
to hold Israel to account for its violations of international human rights and
humanitarian law has further deepened the culture of impunity which allows such
violations to occur.
Israel’s refusal to participate in the
review also represents a direct threat to the very credibility of the Human
Rights Council, a cooperative mechanism with a mandate to examine the
compliance of its Member States with their international human rights
obligations. Israel is the first country to have withdrawn from the UPR
procedure and, in doing so, has set a negative precedent for other states. The
Human Rights Council should not allow Israel to stall the UPR process, and
should instead protect its standards and procedures, and continue with the
review of the State’s compliance with its human rights obligations.
PCHR’s shadow report emphasises that, as the occupying power in the West
Bank including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip. the State of Israel has
specific obligations with respect to the care and protection of the occupied
The report highlights Israel’s numerous violations
of its obligations, such as: the illegal closure of the Gaza Strip; the unilateral
imposition of a so-called ‘buffer zone’ inside the land and sea borders of the
Gaza Strip; and the Israeli judicial system’s systematic
denial of justice for Palestinian victims of attacks by Israeli forces,
including the victims of ‘Operation Cast Lead’. The impunity enjoyed by Israel
for this assault, which has been perpetuated by the international community,
allowed it to carry out its latest offensive on the Gaza Strip in November
2012, in which 102 civilians, including 35 children and 14 women, were killed.
Despite Israel’s refusal to participate in
the Universal Periodic Review, PCHR calls on the UN Human Rights Council to proceed
with its review of Israel’s compliance with its human rights obligations.
Member States should not be permitted to opt out of and undermine the UPR
process by refusing to appear before the Council.
For PCHR’s Shadow Report to the Human
Rights Council, click here.