UN rights council appoints 3-member commission to probe abuses in Israel-Palestine conflict

Israel-Palestine

UN Human Rights Council has announced the appointment of three members to the Commission of Inquiry (COI) on the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and Israel. As per a statement issued by UN Human Rights Council President Nazhat Shameem Khan last week, the three-member commission will consist of Navi Pillay (South Africa), Miloon Kothari (India), and Chris Sidoti (Australia) under the chair of Navi Pillay.

The human rights body has tasked the Commission with conducting an independent investigation into all “root causes” of continuous tensions, instability, and conflict in the region, including systematic abuses and repression based on religious, ethnic, racial, or national identity.

Resolution for independent investigation

The Commission has been formed in line with the resolution adopted by the UN body during an emergency special session on May 27, 2021. The Commission will probe all alleged violations and abuse of international human rights law in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem and Israel during the Gaza-Israel violent clashes in April.

“The 47-member body mandated the Commission to “establish the facts and circumstances that may amount to such violations and abuses and of crimes perpetrated” and “identify, where possible, those responsible, with a view to ensuring that perpetrators of violations are held accountable,” the statement added.

The Geneva-based Council has called on the Commission to submit its report on an annual basis starting from June next year. The Commission will present its first report at the 50th session of the Human Rights Council in June 2022.

Israeli-Gaza conflict

While the Palestinian militant group Hamas had welcomed the international investigation into the war crimes committed during the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Jerusalem had rejected the decision and denied to cooperate with the probe.

On May 21, a ceasefire was agreed upon by Israel and Hamas in Gaza Strip after 11 days of violent clashes in the region that resulted in the killing of more than 200 people and massive destruction of infrastructure.

Elections in Palestine

Meanwhile, UN experts have called on the Palestinian Authority and Israel to take all possible steps to reschedule the elections in the region within a short timeframe to ensure a free, fair, democratic, and peaceful process.

Historic parliamentary and presidential elections in the Palestinian Authority were scheduled to take place in May-July, however, President Mahmoud Abbas postponed the polls over concerns related to voting in East Jerusalem.  

“We call upon Israel to clearly state that it will allow the full democratic participation of Palestinians in East Jerusalem in the planned elections,” a statement by three UN independent human rights experts said on Monday.

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