BADIL Resource Center for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights attended and participated in the 32nd regular session of the United Nations Human Rights Council from 13 June to 1 July, 2016. During the session BADIL met with the Special Rapporteur (SR) on Internally Displaced Persons, the SR on the occupied Palestinian territory, and the SR on Freedom of Opinion and Expression and presented each with BADIL’s latest publication, “No Safe Place: Crimes against Humanity and War Crimes perpetrated by High Level Israeli officials in the course of Operation Protective Edge”, which was submitted to the International Criminal Court in February.
In a meeting with the director of the Human Rights Council’s Middle East North Africa office, BADIL submitted a letter from the Palestinian Human Rights Organizations Council expressing concerns about Israel’s recent election to preside over the UN’s Legal Affairs Sixth Committee, which acts as the central space through which legal questions are brought before the General Assembly.
During the session, BADIL submitted a joint written statement drawing attention to discriminatory Israeli policies inside Hebron, in the occupied West Bank, and outline how such policies create an impossible living environment for the resident Palestinian population, leading to their forcible transfer.
In addition, BADIL delivered three oral statements and participated and attended a number of side events. The first addressed to the SR on Internally Displaced Persons, BADIL drew attention to the 330,000 internally displaced persons in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt), including 75,000 Gaza residents who lost their homes during Israel’s summer 2014 assault on Gaza and Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem who are denied Israeli citizenship and whose residencies are at risk of revocation by the Israeli regime. BADIL called on states to recognize and condemn these unlawful Israeli acts.
In a with other Palestinian human rights organizations and movements, under Item 7, addressing the SR on the Right to Freedom of Opinion and Expression, BADIL highlighted the ongoing persecution and oppression in historic Palestine of human rights defenders who have been targeted for documenting Israeli human rights abuses, organizing non-violent protests, cooperating with the United Nations and the International Criminal Court and campaigning for boycotts, divestments and sanctions.
The statement reminded the Rapporteur that in 2012 his predecessor had affirmed that the right to freedom of expression includes the right to call for peaceful boycotts and that such boycotts are a legitimate means of criticizing Israeli policies and called upon the SR to take all possible measures to ensure the right of the Palestinian people to engage in all forms of legitimate resistance permitted by international law, to recognize that the BDS movement is an integral component of this right and to ensure the protection of Palestinian and international human rights defenders.
Under Item 5 and addressing the Working Group on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises, a describing the abuses perpetrated by the Israeli state run enterprise Mekorot, which has taken complete control over water resources in the oPt and plays a role in facilitating and supporting Israeli violations of international law.
BADIL participated in a side event hosted by the International Council Supporting Fair Trial and Human Rights and discussed the general situation in the oPt and the conditions in Gaza nearly two years after Israel’s last major assault. BADIL also appeared on the BBC on 20 June to discuss the ongoing plight of Palestinian refugees on International Refugee Day. Though an ongoing partnership with the International Institute of Lancy, a secondary school in Geneva, BADIL trained three students on the various mechanisms and bodies of the UNHRC; the students also shadow BADIL’s representative in Geneva during its interventions.