(14 May 2018) Latest statement by the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination condemns Israel’s disproportionate use of force in Gaza

PR/EN/140518/10

Acting under its Early Warning and Urgent Action Procedures, the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) issued a statement[1] on 8 May 2018 on the disproportionate use of force displayed by the Israeli Security Forces against Palestinian demonstrators who have been taking part since 30 March 2018 in ‘the Great March of Return’ in the Gaza Strip.

The statement expressed the Committee's grave concern about the disproportionate use of force employed by the Israeli forces in Gaza, which has resulted in the death of at least 40 Palestinians, who were reportedly “posing no imminent threat at the time they were shot.”

The Committee expressed its deep concern about “the persisting discriminatory practices against Palestinians by Israel as well as the absence of adequate accountability mechanisms,” which are depriving Palestinians of access to justice and from holding Israeli soldiers accountable for their human rights violations.

Furthermore, the Committee urged third party states to put pressure on Israel to immediately end to the excessive use of force against Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, and to initiate an independent investigation in compliance with international standards in order to hold those responsible accountable. It also emphasized the need to ensure prompt and unimpeded access to medical treatment for injured Palestinians.

The Committee urged Israel to ensure that all Palestinians under its effective control enjoy full rights under the Convention without discrimination; to take all necessary measures to ensure full implementation of the recommendations made by the Committee in 2012; to fully respect the norms of humanitarian law in the occupied Palestinian territory(oPt); to lift the blockade of the Gaza strip; and to counter the tide of racism and xenophobia in public discourse, by strongly condemning all racist statements by officials, political and religious leaders.

On 23 April 2018, BADIL Resource Center presented a submission to the CERD under the Early Warning and Urgent Action Procedures.[2] In this submission BADIL expressed its concern about the ongoing use of force by the Israeli forces against unarmed protestors in the Gaza Strip, despite calls for an end to the violence from both the UN and the International Criminal Court (ICC). BADIL highlighted that Israel’s wilful killings and excessive use of force are not only in violation of international law and standards regulating the use of force, but could amount to international crimes under the Rome Statute of the ICC. BADIL underlined how the “impunity enjoyed by members of the Israeli army for human rights violations against Palestinians, including wilful killing and injuring” both contributes to and reflects the “lack of an adequate legislative framework for Palestinians to access any kind of meaningful procedure to seek justice.” BADIL concluded its submission by calling upon the Committee to adopt every possible measure to put an end to the ongoing violations perpetrated by Israeli occupying forces against Palestinians in Gaza; to put pressure on Israel to allow injured people to obtain necessary medical care outside Gaza; and to adopt every possible measure to ensure that Israel ends its regime of illegal closure of the Gaza Strip.