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On 18 February 2022, Al-Haq sent a submission to the United Nations (UN) Special Rapporteur on the rights of freedom of peaceful assembly and of association, Clément N. Voule, to inform a thematic report on trends, developments, and challenges to the ability of civil society organisations to access resources, including foreign funding, to be presented to the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) at its 50th Session. The submission offers Special Rapporteur Voule several recommendations in regard to the designation by the Israeli authorities of six NGOs as terrorist organizations. The submission suggests several measures to be taken by the Israeli authorities, the EU, Third States and Special Rapporteurs with a view to protect the activities of civil society organizations.
On 19 February 2022, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR), in response to the growing manifestations of gender-based violence in Gaza, called upon the Palestinian President to take the following actions: to adopt the Domestic Violence Protection Bill into law; to harmonize domestic laws with international conventions; to fulfil the Palestinian Authority’s obligations under CEDAW, and to ensure all legislations and laws are consistent with the principle of justice and non-discrimination.
On 23 February 2022, Al-Haq launched its report titled “Cultural Apartheid, Israel’s Erasure of Palestinian Heritage in Gaza”. The report builds from an investigation by the London-based research agency “Forensic Architecture” using advanced technologies and ‘open-source’ techniques to reconstruct one of the most significant archaeological sites in the occupied Gaza Strip.The report draws on Israel’s strategic bombing of the Gaza coastline to exemplify the erasure of Palestinian cultural heritage and the denial of the relevant human rights.
On 21 February 2022, Peace Now issued a Joint Action Alter with Bikom, Emek Shaveh and Ir Amim opposing the expansion of the National Park in Jerusalem’s Old City Basin. As a result of the proposed expansion, Palestinian neighbourhoods will be cut off from the Old City and residential development for these communities will be further limited.
On 22 February 2022, B’tselem reported on the Israeli military having blocked off three entrances to the village of Deir Nizam in Ramallah District to residents on 1 December 2021. The West Bank village was closed off for 50 days, invaded by Israeli military 17 times while school students were arrested, and residents harassed.
On 20 February 2022, the Initiative Citoyenne Européenne(ICE) was launched (registered as European Citizens’ Initiative on 8 September 2021). It called on the European Commission to ban European Union (EU) business with settlements in the unlawfully occupied territories worldwide, including the Occupied Palestinian Territory. In detail, the initiative calls for the adoption of a European law prohibiting the import into the EU of products originating from illegal settlements and the export of EU products to these territories, in order to preserve the integrity of the internal market and to no aid or assist the maintenance of such unlawful situations.
On 22 February 2022, Human Rights Watch became signatory of the Initiative Citoyenne Européenne(ICE) adhering to the call for a ban on products to and from Israeli settlements. Moreover, HRW said in the statement, issued on that occasion, the transfer of a civilian population by an occupying power to militarily occupied territory violates the Fourth Geneva Convention and constitutes a war crime under the Rome Statute, the founding treaty of the International Criminal Court (ICC).
On 23 February 2022, Human Rights Watch issued a 49-page report on older people at heightened risk of abuses during armed conflict in several conflict situations between 2013 and 2021. All parties to armed conflict should end abuses against older people and facilitate humanitarian assistance to older people in need. The United Nations Security Council should ensure that the UN addresses the need for enhanced protection of older civilians in armed conflict.
On 18 February 2022, representatives of the Humanitarian Country Team in Palestine, comprising United Nations Agencies and international and Palestinian NGOs, met with the Salem family in the occupied East Jerusalem neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah. The family of 12, including six children and the elderly mother, Fatima Salem – all of whom are Palestine refugees – faces eviction during March from their family home of 70 years. The United Nations has repeatedly called for a halt to forced evictions and demolitions in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem.
On 22 February 2022, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency announced that the Kingdom of Belgium has advanced its annual contribution of EUR 7 million towards the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) 2022 programme budget to support the Agency’s services. This crucial and flexible funding is part of a current multi-year agreement between the Kingdom of Belgium and UNRWA, totalling EUR 21 million between 2021-2023.
On 23 February, the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Tor Wennesland briefed the Security Council meeting on the situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question. Mr Wennesland said that the destabilizing deterioration of the situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory continues in the absence of political solutions that would “reset the trajectory. The Special Coordinator further underlined the need for “firm action” that will enable Israelis and Palestinians to re-engage on the path to meaningful negotiations. “There is no substitute for a legitimate political process that will resolve the core issues driving the conflict,” he said.
This newsletter informs about recent and upcoming activities of Civil Society Organizations affiliated with the United Nations Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People. The Committee and the Division for Palestinian Rights of the UN Secretariat provide the information “as is” without warranty of any kind, and do not accept any responsibility or liability for the accuracy, or reliability of the information contained in the websites linked in the newsletter.