United Nations Human Rights Council – 43rd Regular Session
Item 7 – Human Rights Situation in Palestine and other occupied Arab territories
Joint Oral Intervention
Delivered by: Al Mezan Centre for Human Rights
NGOs in special consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) joining this statement:
This statement is also endorsed by 37 NGOs without ECOSOC consultative status.[i]
Speaker: Ms Nuriya Oswald, Al Mezan Centre for Human Rights
Date: 16 June 2020
The Gaza Strip has been under illegal Israeli closure since 2007, amounting to unlawful collective punishment of two million Palestinians, as recognized by the UN Secretary-General. This June, Palestinians mark 13 years since the start of the illegal closure, while no measures have been taken by the international community to put an end to this injustice.
As the world responds to COVID-19, Palestinians in Gaza are particularly susceptible to the pandemic in one of the world’s most densely populated regions. Only 4 per cent of water is fit for human use and consumption, and sanitation services are limited, while Gaza’s healthcare system was on the verge of collapse even before the pandemic.
The UN has repeatedly warned that Gaza would become uninhabitable by 2020 should Israel fail to lift the illegal closure. Today, half of Palestinians in Gaza live in poverty, 80 per cent depend on some form of humanitarian aid, 68 per cent are food insecure, and 69 per cent of the youth are unemployed.
In 2019, the UN Commission of Inquiry called on Israel, the occupying power, to “Lift the blockade on Gaza with immediate effect.” Member States of the Human Rights Council adopted this recommendation in accountability resolution 40/13; however, it remains unimplemented over a year later, while the root causes of the Great Return March have yet to be addressed.
We call on third States to live up to their responsibility to bring Israel’s illegal closure of Gaza to an end and to uphold the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, including to self-determination and return.
[i] NGOs without consultative status with ECOSOC also endorse this statement, including: Addameer Prisoners Support and Human Rights Association, Agricultural Development Association (PARC), Al Dameer Association for Human Rights, Arab Network for Tolerance, Association des universitaires pour le respect du droit international en Palestine (AURDIP), Association France Palestine Solidarité (AFPS), Bait Almostuqbul Association, Baitona Association for Community and Development, Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies, Centre for Arab Unity Studies, Collectif Judéo Arabe et Citoyen pour la Palestine, Community Action Center – Al-Quds University, Defence for Children International – Palestine, Deir Al-Balah Rehabilitation Society, El-Wafa Charitable Society, Fares Al Arab for Development and Charity Works, Forsan Al-Ghad Youth Association, Fukhary Association for Rural Development, Gaza Action Ireland, Gaza Urban and Peri-urban Agriculture Platform (GUPAP), Just Peace Advocates, MA’AN Development Center, MRAP (Mouvement contre le Racisme et pour l’amitié entre les peuples), Nuseirat Rehabilitation and Social Training Association (NRSTA), Palestinian Lives Matter, Palestinian Non-Governmental Organizations Network (PNGO), Peace Sport Club for Persons with Disability, Ramallah Center for Human Rights Studies (RCHRS), Thalassemia Patients’ Friends Society – Palestine, The Center for Defense of Liberties and Civil Rights – Hurryyat, The National Society for Rehabilitation, The Palestine Institute for Public Diplomacy (PIPD), The Tunisian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel, Union Juive Française pour la Paix (UJFP), Union of Health Care Committees, Wefaq Society for Women and Child Care, Youth Political Forum, and Zakher Association to Develop the Capacity of Palestinian Women.