Geneva – The United Nations must take serious steps to ensure Palestinians’ right to self-determination, said Ramy Abdu, chair of Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor, at a side event organized with the Palestinian Return Centre (PRC) during the 35th session of the UN Human Rights Council.
“It is high time that the international community takes action to end the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories,” warned Abdu at the June 19 event. “It is necessary that the self-determination is recognized as an inalienable right guaranteed by the international covenants.”
Abdu reminded attendees that the international community has acted in the past to end cases of occupation in different parts of the world, including Kuwait and Namibia. He called on the United Nations to take similar steps to end the Israeli occupation.
The Balfour Declaration that paved the way for the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians called the Nakba in 1948 and the years following was reviewed by Majed Alzeer, chair of the London-based PRC. Israel was established by massacring and expelling the indigenous Palestinians, replacing them with a transplanted, Jewish population. Since then, Israel has continued to violate international law by building illegal settlements on the remaining Palestinian land and collectively punishing the 2 million individuals living in the Gaza Strip with repeated assaults and closed borders.
Alzeer reminded the audience that Israel also is responsible for forcing tens of thousands of Palestinians into exile in other countries and preventing their descendants from returning even for a visit. They are largely dependent on the UN Relief & Works Agency (UNRWA) for aid.
The session ended with a paper presented by Ali Al-Shaer from the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), in which he shared results of research on the deteriorating health of residents in the Palestinian territories, especially of vulnerable groups such as children.