On the International Human Rights Day
The Longest Israeli Occupation A Threat to Human Rights
  • 10/12/2023
  •  https://samrl.org/l?e5093 
    SAM |

    Geneva - SAM Organization for Rights and Liberties said that celebrating International Human Rights Day, which falls on December 10th of each year, embodies in us many values of struggle and challenge, in the face of major threats facing the human rights values proclaimed by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on December 10, 1948. The most prominent of these threats is the continued Israeli occupation of Palestinian land as the longest colonization in modern history and the displacement of its people, in the midst of the shameful failure of the United Nations and the international community to stop the genocide being perpetrated against the population of the Gaza Strip, in accordance with the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, as well as other crimes and violations related to children and women, amidst disgraceful encouragement from countries that have adopted human rights discourse throughout the past period.

    Despite the successes achieved during the long human rights journey, the first of which is breaking the barrier of fear among individuals to demand their rights, the legacy of human rights has instilled in us the spirit of defiance to stand against any violation of dignity and human rights. This has become evident in the emergence of individuals, activists, and institutions that have long struggled and exerted effort to ensure that every individual in the world enjoys their basic rights, especially political and economic rights.

    And secondly, the issuance of a cumulative global heritage of treaties and international agreements that encompass all categories of people living worldwide. Thirdly, the creation of a global network of solidarity and cooperation to exert pressure and secure rights that have become an integral part of public and legal life in some countries. Furthermore, international and minority institutions have evolved, working alongside non-governmental organizations to monitor the implementation of human rights and reduce their persistence. Fourthly, progress has been made on the path of criminal accountability, which still requires further detachment and struggle to reach a level where its ability to achieve justice is difficult to doubt, free from political calculations and influences.

    Despite the mentioned achievements, the Arab citizen worldwide as a whole, and specifically the Arab citizen, has witnessed a number of horrifying failures during the past decade. These failures have shaken confidence in the human rights system, the institutions responsible for monitoring its implementation, and the Western society that supports it. These failures are manifested in the bias towards tyranny in the Arab Spring revolutions and the abandonment of the democratic option that some countries had embarked on. This constituted a resounding collapse and a shock to the consciousness of Arab youth who had long dreamed of reaching this moment armed with a culture of human rights. Even when they took to the streets, their blood was spilled, which was neither valued nor respected by Western countries advocating for human rights and the democratic path. Terrifying violations were committed against the right of peoples to choose their rulers, in favor of military coup regimes and armed militias in countries such as Iraq, Yemen, and Syria. Yemen, in particular, suffered due to Western double standards. The ravages of war have made it one of the countries that suffer the most on the humanitarian front. Institutions have been torn apart, and according to UN statistics, over 300,000 people have been killed. Horrific violations have been perpetrated, such as arbitrary arrests, torture, forced disappearances, house bombings, looting of private properties, and suppression of freedom of expression. More than 500 death sentences have been issued against political opponents, activists, and journalists by courts affiliated with the Houthi group.

    Furthermore, these failures were manifested alongside the inability of the United Nations and the international community to end the Israeli occupation and grant the Palestinian people their right to national independence and to live with dignity like the rest of the world's nations. They also failed to stop the ongoing genocide in the Gaza Strip. This is not a recent war; it is a prolonged war that began on the 7th of October, but it dates back to 1948, the date of the Israeli declaration of its colonial state on Palestinian land. The yearning for freedom of oppressed peoples around the world witnessed a terrifying exposure of the credibility test of the United Nations and its member states. The institution appeared to be in a state of clinical death, unable to even protect its own institutions and personnel within the Gaza Strip. Instead, an unacceptable form of threat was exerted against the Secretary-General of the United Nations when he exercised his legal right under Article 99 of the UN Charter. Meanwhile, the High Commissioner for Human Rights was conspicuously absent from the horrifying scene, despite the grave and appalling violations of the Rome Statute.

    Thirdly, these failures and the frightening regression in commitment to human rights, including in Western countries, have been evident. Major communication platforms have retreated from upholding freedom of expression, citing various justifications. This was particularly evident in the case of Gaza, where Facebook restricted posts related to Palestine and showing sympathy towards the victims, displaying clear discriminatory policies. Additionally, there has been a rise in discriminatory and intimidating policies by some pro-Israel countries, threatening punitive measures. Many activists fear that this regression will continue to the extent that free nations will be on par with dictatorships in terms of oppressive laws and the imposition of strict measures in critical matters such as citizenship, employment, and more.

    On this day, it is necessary to be more explicit in criticizing the manipulative politicization of human rights issues at the expense of the victims and the human rights that guarantee freedom, dignity, and a decent life. The victims are left plundered by ongoing violations, especially in ongoing wars, without distinguishing between children, women, and combatants. Ignoring the loud cries around the world in favor of political and economic calculations is shocking and reflects the moral deterioration of states that have pledged to protect human rights without discrimination based on color, religion, race, or language. This weakens the effectiveness of the United Nations and its field-working institutions and undermines public confidence in the positive roles of human rights-supporting states.

    It is time to raise our voices loudly and declare that closing crucial decisions based on the will of states will only lead to extinguishing the candle that was lit on December 10, 1945. We should demand an active role for independent human rights organizations as positive and effective partners in representing the victims and the independent civil society. This will create a balance in future roles. We acknowledge that this may be challenging in the face of the dominance exercised by some states, but it is important to put this on the table and start working towards achieving it.

    The organization expresses its astonishment and outrage at the moral compass deviation of many European countries through statements by their officials supporting Israel's right to self-defense while turning a blind eye to the crimes that have claimed the lives of over 20,000 Palestinians, 40% of whom are innocent women and children. They were killed in their homes and places of displacement, such as hospitals and UN schools. This implicitly indicates the tacit approval of these countries for Israel to continue its acts of genocide and war crimes, which have claimed thousands of lives over the past 60 days.

    The organization emphasizes that this International Day provides an important opportunity to remind the international community and the European Union of the suffering of over 2 million Palestinians living under Israeli blockade for more than 17 years. They are confined to the largest prison known in recent history. In addition to this ongoing war, every moment witnesses the killing of dozens of people, the shelling of homes with residents inside, the targeting of hospitals, infrastructure, and even UN buildings.

    It is essential to emphasize the importance of the international community, in all its components, aligning itself with individual rights and supporting international criminal accountability through courts and special tribunals to ensure that those implicated in the Israeli military leadership and political figures involved in genocide and war crimes face the deserved consequences for the crimes they have committed, crimes that shame humanity.

    In conclusion, we reaffirm that the negative role played by the international community in its handling of the Palestinian issue and its bias towards the oppressor at the expense of the victim carries unforeseen consequences, prolonging the war on the besieged territory and delaying any tangible and genuine progress in the Palestinian people's enjoyment of democracy and justice. This necessitates that the components and individuals of the international community, including the United Nations, the Security Council, and other entities, exert a greater and stronger role towards Palestine to ensure the realization of the aspirations of the Palestinian people in a country free from violations and deprivation of the fundamental rights guaranteed by international law.


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