May 19, 2022 – Legislators from Europe and North America issued a joint statement today calling for a coordinated international response to the deteriorating human rights situation facing the Palestinian people, following the publication of reports by Amnesty International and United Nations Special Rapporteur Michael Lynk which concluded that Israel’s practices against the Palestinians amount to “apartheid.” (Read the full statement below).
In the statement, legislators call upon their respective governments to meaningfully engage with this near consensus in the human rights sector, and to act against discriminatory Israeli policies. “These serious allegations, formed by reputable human rights experts and based on their legal analysis and extensive documentation, cannot continue to be ignored or dismissed by our respective governments,” the statement says.
The statement identifies two recommendations which legislators expect to see their respective governments champion at the international level. First, they call on governments to encourage and support international bodies to “investigate and hold Israeli officials accountable for alleged crimes against humanity, including by referring the matter to the International Criminal Court.” Second, they call on governments to support the restoration of the United Nations Special Committee against Apartheid, “so that it may investigate the crime of apartheid wherever it may be found.”
The publication of this joint statement follows the fourth meeting of the multi-partisan “Inter-Parliamentary Task Force to Promote Palestinian Human Rights,” a trans-Atlantic initiative which brings together North American and European lawmakers to provide a platform for collaboration, knowledge sharing and joint strategies to promote Palestinian human rights. It is composed of more than 20 legislators from the US, Canada, the UK, Ireland, the Netherlands, Finland, Belgium, and several other European countries. The most recent Task Force meeting featured a discussion with Amnesty International about their report, and how the international community can respond.
The Inter-Parliamentary Task Force is supported by civil society groups in Europe and North America. These include Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME), the Coalition of Canadian Palestinian Organizations (CCPO), the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign (IPSC), the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (UK), the European Coordination of Committees and Associations for Palestine (ECCP), and Defense for Children International – Palestine (DCIP).
Statement from the Inter-Parliamentary Task Force to Promote Palestinian Human Rights (May 2022)
As legislators from North America and Europe, we are calling for a coordinated international response to the deteriorating human rights situation facing the Palestinian people.
We are aware that there is a near consensus among international, Palestinian, and Israeli human rights organizations that Israel’s discriminatory practices against the Palestinians may amount to the crime against humanity of apartheid, as defined by Rome Statue and the Apartheid Convention. This conclusion has most recently been reached by Amnesty International and Michael Lynk, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967.
These serious allegations, formed by reputable human rights experts and based on their legal analysis and extensive documentation, cannot continue to be ignored or dismissed by our respective governments. The international community has a responsibility to respect and closely examine the findings of the human rights sector, especially those Palestinian organizations which have been persecuted for their activities, and take action when necessary.
The human rights community has appealed to our governments to adopt a series of economic and diplomatic measures as a response Israel’s discriminatory policies, and there are several recommendations in particular which we want to see championed at an international level:
- Governments should encourage and support international bodies to investigate and hold Israeli officials accountable for alleged crimes against humanity, including by referring the matter to the International Criminal Court. Other avenues could include the International Court of Justice and the UNHRC’s Commission of Inquiry. Efforts to weaken or deter these bodies from investigating such serious allegations must be condemned.
- As members of the UN General Assembly, governments should support the restoration of the Special Committee against Apartheid, so that it may investigate the crime of apartheid wherever it may be found. We note that this recommendation has been endorsed by the governments of post-apartheid South Africa and Namibia, whose people benefitted from the important work of this committee in a previous era.
Frances Black, Senator, Ireland (Independent)
Padraig MacLochlainn, Teachta Dála, Ireland (Sinn Féin)
Patrick Costello, Teachta Dála, Ireland (Green Party/Comhaontas Glas)
Gino Kenny, Teachta Dála, Ireland (People Before Profit)
Tommy Sheppard, Member of Parliament, United Kingdom, (Scottish National Party)
Steven De Vuyst, Member of Parliament, Belgium (Workers Party of Belgium)
Veronika Honkasalo, Member of Parliament, Finland (Left Alliance)
Sylvana Simons, Member of Parliament, Netherlands (Bij1 Party)
Heather McPherson, Member of Parliament, Canada (New Democratic Party)
Niki Ashton, Member of Parliament, Canada (New Democratic Party)
Leah Gazan, Member of Parliament, Canada (New Democratic Party)
Alexander Boulerice, Member of Parliament, Canada (New Democratic Party)
Ruba Ghazal, Member of National Assembly, Québec (Québec Solidaire)