MAP calls for equal access to COVID-19 vaccines in the occupied Palestinian territory at the UN Human Rights Council

At the 47th session of the UN Human Rights Council, Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP) calls for equal access to COVID-19 vaccines in the occupied Palestinian territory. Below is our full statement.

Madam President,

Medical Aid for Palestinians welcomes the High Commissioner’s report, and its calls for equitable COVID-19 vaccine campaigns guided by human rights-based approaches.

While 63% of Israelis have been vaccinated, including those living in illegal settlements in the West Bank, less than 9% of the nearly five million Palestinians living under Israel’s military occupation in the West Bank and Gaza have received a vaccine.

Under international humanitarian and human rights law, Israel, as an occupying power, is obligated to ensure rapid, equitable and comprehensive access to vaccines in the occupied Palestinian territory.

Its failure to do so is placing further avoidable strain on a Palestinian health system already weakened by blockade and decades of military occupation.

The ability of Palestinian health authorities to purchase and administer vaccines is severely hampered by chronic financial and infrastructure limitations caused in large part by Israel’s discriminatory control.

This situation has led to deepening health inequalities and increased restrictions on Palestinians’ freedom of movement and access to work, healthcare and livelihoods.

Despite the pandemic, Israel has also continued its pattern of violations which have long undermined Palestinian health and dignity, including the demolitions of Palestinian homes, attacks on health workers, and the collective punishment of Gaza, enabled by chronic impunity and international inaction.

Aid without accountability will not enable Palestinians to “build back better” from the pandemic. We therefore urge members of this council to immediately press Israel to fully meet its duties as an occupying power toward the right to health of Palestinians.

Read MAP's position paper calling for rapid, comprehensive and equitable access to vaccines in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) here.

Read the position paper

Photo: Ludovic Courtès (own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons.

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