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Written Submission to the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Promotion of Truth, Justice, Reparation and Guarantees of Non-Recurrence, Mr. Fabian Salvioli, on Transitional Justice Measures and the Legacy of Human Rights Violations in Colonial Contexts

Al-Haq responded to Fabian Salvioli’s request for input to his forthcoming report by submitting its own report that documents serious violations of international humanitarian law (IHL) imposed on the Palestinian people.  The United Nations (UN) Special Rapporteur on the Promotion of Truth, Justice, Reparation and Guarantees of Non-Recurrence will submit his report on transitional justice measures and the legacy of human rights violations in colonial contexts in the forthcoming October.

Al-Haq observes that the transition to justice in Palestine is far from being achieved, and calls on the Special Rapporteur to recognize and address Israel’s settler colonial and apartheid regime. It also endorses the re-establishment of the UN Special Committee against Apartheid and the UN Centre against Apartheid, and maintains they have an essential role to play in ending Israel’s institutionalized impunity and apartheid regime. It also calls on the UN Human Rights Council “to establish a Commission of Inquiry to investigate the historical injustice inflicted on the Palestinian people, [and] to unpack the historical and ongoing Israeli settler-colonial regime in Palestine”.

Al-Haq focuses on mechanisms that Israel has established to hold human rights violators accountable; serious violations of IHL in colonial contexts; and measures that provide truth, reparations and historical acknowledgement to victims.

It demonstrates that the Israeli justice system facilitates its impunity; for example, its legal policies prevent refugees and internally displaced people (IDPs) from returning to their homes and properties, and also does not permit them to commemorate historical acts of violence. The overriding theme, which is reiterated throughout, is that Israel is a settler-colonial regime that deserves to be treated and regarded as such.  

About the author

Al-Haq is an independent Palestinian non-governmental human rights organisation based in Ramallah, West Bank. Established in 1979 to protect and promote human rights and the rule of law in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT), the organisation has special consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council. Al-Haq documents violations of the individual and collective rights of Palestinians in the OPT, irrespective of the identity of the perpetrator, and seeks to end such breaches by way of advocacy before national and international mechanisms and by holding the violators accountable. The organisation conducts research; prepares reports, studies and interventions on breaches of international human rights and humanitarian law in the OPT; and undertakes advocacy before local, regional and international bodies. Al-Haq also cooperates with Palestinian civil society organisations and governmental institutions in order to ensure that international human rights standards are reflected in Palestinian law and policies. The organisation has a specialised international law library for the use of its staff and the local community. Al-Haq is the West Bank affiliate of the International Commission of Jurists - Geneva and is a member of the International Network for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ESCR-Net), the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network (EMHRN), the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), Habitat International Coalition (HIC), the Palestinian Human Rights Organisations Council (PRHOC), and the Palestinian NGO Network (PNGO). For its work in protecting and promoting human rights, the organisation has been awarded the Fayez A. Sayegh Memorial Award, the Rothko Chapel Award for Commitment to Truth and Freedom, The Carter-Menil Human Rights Foundation Prize, the Geuzenpenning Prize for Human Rights Defenders, the Welfare Association’s NGO Achievement Award, The Danish PL Foundation Human Rights Award, the Human Rights Prize of the French Republic, and the Human Rights and Business Award.

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