GENEVA (25 March 2021) – After recent annual consultations with Member States, the United Nations Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices* today expressed deep concern over reports that Israel, while donating surplus COVID-19 vaccines overseas, has failed to fulfill its international legal responsibility and obligation to ensure the vaccination of the Palestinian population in the occupied Palestinian territory. The number of vaccines received so far by the Palestinian people represents only a ‘drop in the sea’, in addressing the overall vaccination needs and containing the COVID-19 pandemic.

 Against this background, the Special Committee calls on Israel, as an occupying power, to urgently comply with its international legal obligations, to ensure that Palestinians and Syrians under occupation have access to available vaccines, in accordance with the Fourth Geneva Convention.

 ENDS

 *The United Nations Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People and Other Arabs of the Occupied Territories was established by the UN General Assembly in December 1968 to examine the human rights situation in the occupied Syrian Golan, the West Bank, including East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip.

The Special Committee is composed of three Member States: Malaysia, Senegal and Sri Lanka. The Special Committee held its annual consultations with Member States in Geneva from 15-18 March, 2021.

For the Special Committee’s End of mission 2020 full report.

UN Human Rights, Country Pages – Occupied Palestinian Territory and Israel

For more information and media requests, please contact Abigail Eshel (aeshel@ohchr.org).