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Volume 43, December 2007

Adalah’s General Director participates in UN expert consultation on citizenship and minorities

On 6 and 7 December 2007, Adalah’s General Director Attorney Hassan Jabareen participated in an expert consultation at the United Nations headquarters in Geneva on “Issues Related to Minorities and the Denial or Deprivation of Citizenship”. Ms. Gay McDougall, the UN Independent Expert on Minority Issues, convened the meeting with the support of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) for the presentation of testimonies on how states deal with the rights of non-citizens, including refugees, migrant workers and indigenous persons not granted citizenship by the state in which they reside.

Attorney Jabareen was among 32 academics and experts in the field of minority rights and citizenship who represented governmental and non-governmental bodies, in addition to UN offices at the consultation. Ms. McDougall convened the meeting to assist her work on revealing the extent of denials or deprivations of the citizenship of minorities and on developing practical solutions to these problems.

Attorney Jabareen was invited to speak on minorities and citizenship in Israel. He was one of two representatives who briefed Ms. McDougall on the regional context of the Middle East as regards minorities and the denial or deprivation of citizenship. Attorney Jabareen discussed the “problem of citizenship for Palestinians,” including Palestinian refugees, Palestinian citizens of Israel and Palestinians living in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. He spoke before the independent expert and other participants on how Palestinians do not enjoy freedom of movement in their homeland, including for purposes of education, visiting relatives and receiving medical treatment. Attorney Jabareen concluded by discussing the Israeli Citizenship Law, which bans family unification for Palestinian families and prevents Palestinian citizens of Israel from being connected to the Palestinian people and members of the Arab nation.

Ms. McDougall plans to cover issues relating to minorities and the denial or deprivation of citizenship and to reflect upon the outcome of the consultation in her upcoming thematic report to the Human Rights Council, expected in March 2008