Arab, Islamic blocs urge UN to take action on settlement report
Published Tuesday 19/03/2013 (updated) 24/03/2013 18:43
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Arab and Islamic blocs in the United Nations are drafting a resolution to ask the UN Human Rights Council to adopt the conclusions of a fact-finding mission on Israeli settlements, the regional director of a human rights group said Tuesday.
Amani Sinwar, the regional director of the Euro Mediterranean Monitor for Human Rights, told Ma'an that the two groups will ask that the UN human rights body implement the recommendations of the report, which says settlement building must stop immediately and settlers evacuated from occupied territory.
Christine Chanet, Chairperson of the Fact-Finding Mission, said Monday that settlement building was a "growing, creeping form of annexation" which compromised the Palestinian right to self-determination.
Presenting the findings of the mission to the Human Rights Council, Chanet said that "Israel should put an immediate end to this colonization process, begin a process of withdrawing settlements, and ensure effective remedy."
"The settlers seem to enjoy all the rights, while they are denied to Palestinians," she said.
Palestinians "are subject to a particularly complex civil law system and to a military criminal procedure which does not protect them against arbitrary arrest and detention and does not guarantee a fair trial to the accused."
"Even children aged between 12 and 17 are subject to this regime."
Pakistan, speaking on behalf of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, said in the briefing session that settlement activities were a clear violation of article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention and illegal under international law.
Bahrain, speaking on behalf of the Arab Group, called upon the Council to adopt the report, to give it force, and called on all international and United Nations agencies to work to ensure follow up of the implementation of the recommendations.
On Monday, High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay told the Human Rights Council that Israel must prosecute settlers who carry out violent acts against Palestinians.
"On the Israeli side, settler violence continues to be perpetrated with impunity," she said.
"And Israel needs to hold perpetrators accountable. While investigations are not opened into most incidents of settler violence, between 2005 and 2011, only 9 per cent of the investigations opened resulted in an indictment."
New Israeli Housing Minister Uri Ariel, a Jewish settler and member of the pro-settler Jewish Home party, said in a television interview Monday that the incoming Israeli government would keep expanding Jewish settlements to the same extent as the previous government.