MAP pursues Palestinian health and dignity at the UN Human Rights Council

MAP’s Director of Advocacy and Campaigns, Neil Sammonds, reports MAP’s visit to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva this week:

We were in Geneva this week to attend the UN Human Rights Council (HRC), during which the human rights situation in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) was widely discussed.  We met with representatives of governments, of UN, EU and international bodies and of course with many Palestinian and other human rights organisations to discuss, in particular, Palestinians’ right to health.

It was great to have with us MAP’s recent reports on Palestinians’ access to and for protection of Palestinian healthcare, in which the main obstacles and dangers are so clearly documented. One of four oPt resolutions being discussed by the HRC was to be on accountability for violations of international law, and we strongly demonstrated not only that Palestinian hospitals, clinics, ambulances and medical workers have been so widely damaged and destroyed by military attacks but, as for example found by the UN Commission of Inquiry, that Israel’s record in holding such wrongdoers to account is “lamentable”.

MAP held a side-event on the issue, Ensuring accountability for attacks on healthcare and achieving the right to health for Palestinians in the oPt. Basman Alashi, Director of the al-Wafa Hospital addressed the room powerfully from Gaza via phone and described the destruction of his hospital in 2014 and its ongoing negative impact. Mahmoud AbuRahma of Al Mezan Center for Human Rights explained their thwarted endeavours to obtain justice and accountability through Israel’s own domestic mechanisms, and Munir Nuseibah of the Community Action Centre spoke of increasing barriers to healthcare for Palestinians in East Jerusalem. As chair, I added details on the worsening – and sometimes lethal – health consequences of 10 years of closure and blockade on Gaza, the permit system and delays at checkpoints.

Indications were that the UK might not support the accountability resolution, due to transatlantic political considerations, despite the apparent contradiction – and even dangerous double standards – in having supported a resolution at the UN Security Council last year in support of accountability for attacks on healthcare in conflict. We hoped, however, that the HRC resolution would still pass. 

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