Nine Days Before Voting ... An Appeal from 32 Arab Human Rights Organizations to Europe to Review its Stance towards the Palestinian Issue

Yesterday, the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS) presented a memorandum to the Swedish ambassador to Cairo, whose country is currently presiding over the European Union (EU), and demanded that the statement be circulated to all of the European governments.

A message attached to the memorandum urged the European governments to adopt a position towards the Palestinian issue- a position to be consistent with the relevant human rights principles. In particular, it urged the European governments to work on bringing about a resolution in support of the rights of the Palestinian people to be adopted by the United Nations Commission on Human Rights currently convening and due to vote on a resolution on April 18.

The said memorandum constitutes an access to a long-term dialogue with the EU on the dangers of politicization of human rights and employment of double standards. The latter is flagrantly embodied in the exemption of Israel from being held accountable for its grave human rights violations and endowing it with impunity.

This memorandum was drafted based on a consultative meeting held in Brussels last January at the invitation of the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network to examine means of developing the international communities' position towards the rights of the Palestinian people. Many international NGOs participated in the meeting. The working paper was prepared by the CIHRS and LAW.

It is worth-mentioning that the group of EU states had previously abstained from voting on a resolution by the UN Commission on Human Rights in its special session on the Palestinian issue last October. EU states also abstained from voting on a draft resolution that was being discussed by the UN Security Council two weeks ago on providing international protection to the Palestinian people.

The memorandum is presented after consultation took place between CIHRS and 31 Arab human rights NGOs in 11 Arab states and in Israel in addition to a number of Arab experts from some international NGOs. The memorandum is signed by 32 NGOs. Copies have been sent to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and the international NGOs.

The memorandum notes that the international community needed only six months to force Iraq out of Kuwait, and some other months to intervene in Kosovo, while it failed to enforce resolutions pertaining to the rights of the Palestinian people which have been adopted more than half a century ago.

The memorandum also notes that the international community has never tolerated such blackmailing for more than 50 years by a state that threatens international peace and security, starts wars, occupies lands, and commits collective massacres and acts of ethnic cleansing which led to the displacement of five million refugees. And yet the international community is not able to subject it to the same standards of accountability applied to some states like Iraq, former Yugoslavia and Indonesia. The UN General Assembly, Security Council, the UN Commission on Human Rights and other human rights UN bodies have variously adopted several positive resolutions against Israel and in support of the Palestinian people. Nevertheless, all of these resolutions have remained ink on paper. In fact, any draft resolution seeking to oblige Israel to enforce any of these resolutions was met with a veto.

The memorandum reviews records of Israel's human rights violations that would have never been continued if it were not for the special protection accorded to Israel by the United States on the one hand, and the European attitude that wavers between verbal condemnation and connivance on the other hand. This special protection and apathy have secured Israel's impunity while the Palestinian people has continued bleeding.

In particular, the memorandum focuses on the crimes against humanity in the form of systematic ethnic cleansing. It also paid special attention to the nature of the racist regime established not only in Israel but also in the territories occupied since 1967; a racist regime that rests on a legislative system that institutionalizes the racist social structure in the fields of property, economy, employment, housing and education. This racism is reflected in the denial of the right of the indigenous population, the insistence to annex Jerusalem and the discrimination against Arab inhabitants of Jerusalem who are being treated as foreigners. This also extends to encompass the Palestinian occupied territories that are being transformed into "Bantustans" by force, and suffer under dependant economic relations of a racial, colonial nature. The racist character of the regime is being imposed at the expense of the indigenous population.

In addition, the memorandum reviews systematic acts of oppression against the Palestinian people that have been perpetrated since the eruption of the second uprising through reports by international and Palestinian human rights NGOs, the UN Fact-Finding Commission in the Palestinian occupied territories and the UN Special Rapporteur.

The memorandum notes that the continued exemption of Israel from being held accountable for its gross human rights violations and endowing it with impunity discredits the whole idea of the 'universality of human rights' and the 'international protection of human rights.' For the Arab public opinion, this is considered an additional aspect of a wide-ranging international conspiracy against the peoples of the region.

The memorandum further notes that the continued exemption of Israel from being held accountable is an example other countries are trying to repeat and/or employ. This puts the whole international system before serious dangers, leads to the sacrifice of human rights and the international humanitarian law and to the undermining of peace and security in the region. Furthermore, this threatens the collapse of the whole international human rights protection system.

The memorandum concludes with a number of recommendations, which are in essence a message to affirm that the protection mechanisms have not been put in place to target certain states and exempt others and that before these mechanisms all states are equal. They are also a message that aims at presenting a long-term comprehensive approach to the Palestinian issue from a human rights' perspective. On top of these recommendations come the following:

1. Calling upon the UN Security Council to form an international force for the protection of the Palestinian people and its property, and to provide Palestinian refugees with the necessary protection.

2. Forming an international Criminal Tribunal for prosecuting Israeli war criminals similar to the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia. Until then, the High Contracting Parties of the Fourth Geneva Convention should fulfil their legal obligation under Article 146 to search for persons alleged to have committed, or to have ordered to be committed, grave breaches of the Convention.

3. Imposing the necessary political and economic sanctions on Israel so as to oblige it to respect and implement the relevant international legal resolutions and to liquidate the institutional bases of its racist regime, in the same manner as was adopted regarding the former racist regime in South Africa.

4. Calling upon the United Nations General Assembly to uphold its legal responsibilities towards the Palestinian people based on its Resolution 273 of 1949 known as "Uniting for Peace," which allows it to intervene in situations that threaten international peace and security if it feels a clear omission and failure on the part of the Security Council to fulfill its legal obligations. premium vebsite Download hentai games and enjoy playng

5. Calling upon the parties to the peace process in the region, the US and the European Union in particular, to place human rights considerations at the centre of any new peace negotiations. The experience of the last decades has proven that is the only guarantee for reaching a genuine and lasting peace.

Signatories to this memorandum:

Al- Mezan Center for Human Rights - Palestine
Committee for the Defense of Human Rights - Syria
Al Haq - Palestine
ITTIJAH-Union of Arab Community based Association-Israel
Organization Marocaine Des Droits Humains- Morocco
Arab Association for Human Rights- Israel
Jerusalem Legal Aid & Human Rights Center- Palestine
Forum Verite et justice- Morocco
Badil-Resource Center for Palestinian Residency and Refugees Rights-Palestine
Forum for Civil Society- Yemen
Al-Urdun Al-Jadid Research Center- Jordan
Women's Forum for Research and Training- Yemen
The Libyan League for Human Rights- Libya
Palestinian Human Rights Organization (Rights)- Lebanon
Sudan Human Rights Organization- Sudan
Human Rights Center for Assistance of Prisoners- Egypt
New Women Research Center- Egypt
Al- Nadeem Center for Rehabilitation and Management for Victims of Violence- Egypt
LAW The Palestinian Society for the Protection of Human Rights and the Environment- Palestine
Committee for the Respect of Freedom and Human Rights - Tunisia
Egyptian Organization for Human Rights- Egypt
Hisham Mubarak Law Center- Egypt
Egyptian Center for Women's Rights- Egypt
Women's Center for Legal aid and Counseling - Palestine
Palestinian Center for Human Rights- Palestine
League Tunisienne pour La Defense des Droits de l'Homme-Tunisia
Adalah- the Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights -Israel
Association of Forty- for recognition of Unrecognized Arab Villages- Israel
Committee for the Defense of Palestinian Internally Displaced - Israel
Bahrain Human Rights Organization - Bahrain
Lebanon Association for Human Rights
Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies - Regional Center

Note: The full text of this memorandum is available via CIHRS, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., via BADIL and other signatories.