26 November 2011

Adalah Participates in UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights Review of Israel in Geneva

(Geneva, Switzerland) Representatives of Adalah participated in the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights' review of Israel in Geneva, Switzerland on 16-17 November 2011. At these sessions, the Committee examined Israel's report submitted in 2010 and replies to the "List of Issues" on the implementation of its obligations under the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), to which Israel is a State party.

Adalah Attorney Sawsan Zaher presented key concerns about Israel's failure to comply with the ICESCR concerning the rights of Palestinian citizens of Israel from Adalah's NGO Reports in two NGO meetings with the Committee. Ten other Israeli, Palestinian and international NGOs also participated in the meetings calling attention to ICESCR violations by Israel, primarily concerning the rights of Palestinians in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT). The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), of which Adalah is a member, organized one of the briefings and several meetings for its members with other UN representatives.

Before the Committee members, Adalah reported on the constant wave of discriminatory legislation against the rights of Palestinian citizens of Israel and human rights defenders being introduced and enacted by the Knesset since the election of the Netanyahu government in 2009. Adalah also briefed the Committee on Israel's systematic violation of the rights to property and adequate housing in Israel, including the government's attempt, through the Prawer Plan, to forcibly displace around 40,000 Arab Bedouin citizens of Israel living in the unrecognized villages in Naqab (Negev). The Committee's Rapporteur on Israel raised the issue of the discriminatory laws in his opening statement to the Israeli delegation, and many Committee members relied on information provided by Adalah in formulating their questions to State.

Throughout the session, the Committee focused on Israel's derogation from the principle of non-discrimination and thus its failure to promote the economic, social and cultural rights of all citizens of the state, especially its Palestinian citizens. The Committee also expressed its deep concern at Israel's continued rejection of the international consensus on the applicability of the Covenant in the OPT. The delegation representing the State of Israel consisted of 13 representatives from government agencies including the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Labor, and the Israeli military. Adalah anticipates the Committee's Concluding Observations to be issued in mid-December 2011.

In addition to the participating in the Committee's sessions, Adalah also held meetings with human rights officers working with several UN Special Rapporteurs (SR). Notably, the UN SR on Freedom of Expression, Mr. Frank La Rue, will undertake a country visit to Israel and the OPT in December 2011. The UN SR on Adequate Housing, Ms. Raquel Rolnik, will follow in January 2012.

For Adalah's NGO Reports to the UN CESCR

For information on the UN CESCR session and meetings with the NGOs, see:

For the overview of the session by FIDH, see: