Israel’s Universal Periodic Review: Calling on the UK to raise Palestinians’ right to health

Today Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP) and Lawyers for Palestinian Human Rights (LPHR) have called on the UK Government to engage with the upcoming Universal Periodic Review of Israel’s human rights record in January 2018.

Every five years all 193 Member States of the United Nations undergo a ‘Universal Periodic Review’ (UPR) of their human rights record at the UN Human Rights Council. This is a peer-led process, whereby states scrutinise each other’s human rights record, make recommendations for how this can be improved, and examine progress against these recommendations between five-year cycles.

Israel’s last scheduled UPR was in January 2013, however they failed to attend this session, eventually undergoing their review in October 2013. The upcoming review in early 2018 is an important opportunity to assess Israel’s adherence to international humanitarian and human rights law in the occupied Palestinian territory, including on issues relating to the right to health.

In 2013, then-UK Foreign Minister William Hague called the UPR "a valuable mechanism for holding countries accountable for their human rights record". The UK Government also engaged with Israel’s previous UPR, stating that they had "actively lobbied Israel to re-engage with the Human Rights Council and the Universal Periodic Review process".

MAP and LPHR sent a joint letter to Lord Ahmed of Wimbledon, Foreign and Commonwealth Office Minister responsible for the UK’s engagement with the UN. We have called on him to ensure that the UK Government again engages with Israel’s upcoming UPR and continues to work to ensure all Member States, including Israel, continue to attend their UPR sessions.

We have also sent a copy of our submission to the UN Human Rights Council on the topic of the right to health for Palestinians in the occupied Palestinian territory, which makes recommendations for ensuring access to healthcare; protection of health facilities and workers; and protecting the rights of persons with disabilities.

MAP will be at the UN in Geneva in December to brief states about the right to health of Palestinians and make recommendations for the UPR. We will keep supporters updated in due course.

You can read the MAP-LPHR letter and our submission in full here.

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