اللجنة العربية لحقوق الإنسان

ARAB COMMISSION FOR HUMAN RIGHTS

COMMISSION ARABE DES DROITS HUMAINS

An Open Letter to the High Commissioner for Human Rights

 

Paris, 2 October 2000

Mrs. Mary Robinson

The High Commissioner for Human Rights

United Nations

Geneva

RE: A CALL TO VISIT PALESTINE

Dear Mrs. Robinson,

The Arab Commission for Human Rights (ACHR) has taken a firm stance in support of establishing the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (HCHR) as a senior moral authority. We were proud to see it grow into an effective intervention mechanism against gross violations of human rights regardless of the identity or the location of the perpetrators. In witnessing the HCHR's birth and in welcoming your coming to office with the utmost integrity and honesty with which you are renowned throughout your career, we are now appealing to you to pay a visit to Palestine.

You will have been following up the disturbing news from the Occupied Territories, which consistently remind us all of the worst imperialistic experiences that we may have thought over. You will have also been aware of the gross violations persistently committed by the Israeli army in Jerusalem and the occupied, and re-occupied, areas. Years after the Oslo Accord, Palestine continues to experience a systematic Apartheid that is incomparable even to that suffered in South Africa. This settlement-oriented occupation of Palestine, at least according to the International Criminal Court's constitution, is simply a crime against humanity. For over half a century now, Israeli forces consistently attacked and humiliated Palestinians human dignity without being questioned for their crimes. The practices of an occupying army as such, evidentially, demonstrates how--in the absence of any effective international pressures--the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War can be meaningless.

The status quo at the Palestinian Occupied Territories requires you to visit Jerusalem as a witness and a voice of rights in the face of the Israeli army violations of the most basic of human rights. We are calling upon you to assume your role as a representative conscience for NGOs, which are yet to take a firm and a responsible stance. One of your most daunting tasks will be seeking protection for Palestinian civilians since your presence as such tragedy unfolds may prove very effective in terms of bringing the latest form of occupation and apartheid on this planet as we are into the second millennium to an end. The international community was able to limit the impact of Eastern Timor's occupation through an international force whose task was to protect civilians, and it is now required to provide a similar force to be stationed at the 4th of June 1967' borderline. This may serve as the only guarantee for the safety of Arab residents in Palestine and Golan and as an essential pre-condition to insure that Palestinians may exercise their right to self-determination. Ending Israeli occupation is a central task of rights that will test the credibility of the United Nations and its human rights specialised agencies.

We are optimistic that you will respond to our call, knowing that you represent a living example of how effective the High Commissioner for Human Rights, and how your own personal responsibility in this regard can be demonstrated.

Please accept the utmost respect and regards of the members of the Arab Commission for Human Rights.

 

Sincerely,

 

Dr. Moncef Marzouki Dr. Violette Daguerre

President Secretary-General

 

 

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