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Published on Dec 7, 2016
International Organization for the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (EAFORD)
General debate under agenda item 9 - Racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related forms of intolerance, follow-up to and implementation of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action (DDPA)
Delivered by Ms. Iman Abu Zueiter
Thank you Mr. President,
Discrimination and racism are among the ongoing threats that overwhelm our modern world. People in different parts of the world are heavily suffering from various forms of discrimination, xenophobia and intolerance.
On the other hand, the cut in the resources of the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNOHCHR) for fighting racism may negatively affect its work on issues safeguarded by the Durban Declaration and Program of Action (DDPA) and as a result may undermine the effectiveness of the protection provided to the victims of racism during this time of crisis.
In particular, more attention should be paid to flagrant cases as the apartheid system practiced against the ethnic and religious minorities living in Israel as well as Palestinians in the occupied territories. Arabs in Israel are living in impoverished communities surrounded by the Jews who are benefiting from most of the public resources. There are at least 50 discriminatory laws in Israel which either directly or indirectly, discriminate against Palestinians in different aspects of life.
One of such is the discrimination by Israeli Prison Service (IPS) in their treatment of Palestinian prisoners categorizing them as “security prisoners” even in cases with no apparent charge, or minor offenses. This discriminatory policy deprives Palestinian prisoners of their rights even as simple as making a telephone call. Moreover, while non-Arabs are tried before civilian courts, Palestinian civilians are tried before Israeli Military Courts for the same offenses in a clear form of discrimination.
Confiscation of Palestinian lands is a common practice as well that would not hold up in any international court. The new built Jewish-only settlements inside the occupied territories are sealed off by Israeli soldiers, and most of the resources and access to roads are for the use of Jews only.
These forms of discrimination practiced for decades cannot be tolerated anymore. The international community has to give greater attention and higher priority to the implementation of the DDPA in order to provide protection and legal assistance for all the victims of discrimination.