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Gaza Declaration from the International Association of Democratic Lawyers

September 29th,
2012, Gaza City

From September 24th
to 28th, 2012, the International Association of Democratic Lawyers
(IADL), a non-governmental organization of progressive lawyers from all over
the world with consultative status in Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC),
held its bureau meeting in Gaza, occupied Palestine. We came to show our
solidarity with the Palestinian people and their cause and to lift our voices
in affirming the basic rights of the Palestinian people to self-determination,
and an end to the illegal occupation and closure of the Gaza Strip.

The IADL met with the
Palestinian Bar Association, the Palestinian NGO Network (PNGO), human rights
organizations, women’s rights organizations, Palestinian political factions,
and government officials.. We visited with the Prime Minister and The Minister
of Justice.  We held discussions with
representatives of all political parties and affected individuals. Throughout
these events and meetings, the IADL was able to gain first-hand information on
the prevailing situation in the occupied Palestinian territory, particularly in
the Gaza Strip. 

The struggle of the
Palestinian people is a just struggle to which IADL commits its support.


Self-determination and an End to the Occupation

We affirm the right of
the Palestinian people to self-determination, independence, and statehood,
including the realization and protection of their inalienable rights. Self-determination
is a basic right of all peoples enshrined in Article 1 of the United Nations
Charter, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the
International Covenant on Economic Social, and Cultural Rights.

We affirm the illegality
of the belligerent Israeli occupation, and support the Palestinians’ right to
territorial integrity, and an end to the occupation.

IADL calls for the
immediate end of the occupation.

End Impunity for Crimes

We condemn Israel’s illegal occupation of the West Bank and
Gaza Strip, illegal acts of aggression, including the closure of Gaza, as well as many war
crimes and crimes against humanity. We condemn Israel’s violations of
international humanitarian law and basic human rights law.

We condemn all acts of
aggression against the Palestinian people, including targeted killings of

We affirm that the
international community has a responsibility to end the impunity Israel currently enjoys, mainly due to the strong
support of the United States

We affirm the right to
bring cases against identified perpetrators of war crimes under the principle of
universal jurisdiction.

The IADL calls on the
United Nations to immediately implement the recommendations made in the
Goldstone Report.

Maintenance of a culture
of impunity is a threat to public international law and world peace.

Release of Palestinian Prisoners and an End to Torture

IADL condemns the fact
that thousands of Palestinians remain in Israeli jails.  Many are held without charge under a continuing
unjust regime of administrative detention.

Approximately 8,000
Palestinian children have been arrested since 2000.  The arbitrary detention and ill-treatment of children
are in clear violation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, as is the
separation of children from their families.

Two distinct sentencing
regimes lead to harsher sentences for Palestinian children, compared to Israeli
children, recalling the practices of apartheid South Africa.

IADL has heard many
claims of torture and cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment suffered by
Palestinian prisoners and the denial of family visits by Israeli authorities.
Many prisoners have engaged in hunger strikes to protest these conditions.

The Convention Against
Torture prohibits these practices, and all those responsible for ordering and
implementing the use of torture must be held accountable.

We call for the immediate
and unconditional release of all Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails,
and an end to impunity for the torture of these prisoners.

Human Rights Violations and Collective Punishment

The closure of the Gaza Strip
prevents the people of Gaza
from exercising and enjoying their fundamental human rights to adequate
housing, health care, education, work, water, development, and a healthy environment.

Life and water are
inextricably linked. Israel’s
policies prevent the Palestinian people from having access to this essential resource,
as the closure has resulted in the lack of sewage treatment and desalination
plants. This situation represents a direct threat to the existence of Gaza’s population, as the Gaza aquifer, their primary source of water, will
be irreparably damaged by 2016 unless immediate remedial action is taken.

Israel’s closure of Gaza severely limits the availability of food,
fuel, electricity, and construction materials, amongst many other items.  The closure constitutes a direct threat to
the livelihood and security of the people of Gaza
Restrictions on the freedom of movement to jobs and employment have
caused a high unemployment rate, which leads to poverty, and widespread

Restrictions on access to
agricultural land and fishing waters, enforced through arbitrary arrest and the
use of force, aggravates the already high levels of poverty.

The IADL understands that
the right to peace is only achieved once all human rights are fulfilled in an
environment free from war, threats, and aggression. Israel’s illegal closure makes
impossible the achievement of the right to peace, in violation of the first
purpose and principle of the United Nations Charter.

The Israeli actions not only constitute illegal collective punishment of
the entire population of the Gaza
Strip, but are a precursor to genocide, and have resulted in crimes against
humanity and war crimes.

We call on Israel
as an occupying power not only to stop these violations of human rights, but to
also ensure that all human rights are protected and respected.

Complicity of the International Community in Israeli War Crimes

The failure of the international
community to hold Israel
accountable for its crimes against the people of Palestine makes it complicit in these

If the International
Criminal Court continues to refuse to act on the case of Palestine, and if the
Security Council fails to act to hold Israel accountable, the IADL calls upon
the people of the world to demand the General Assembly to act under Article 22
of the United Nations Charter and set up a subsidiary body to investigate and
prosecute these crimes.

IADL especially condemns
the United States for its obstruction of the implementation of Security Council
resolutions requiring Israel to recognize the rights of the Palestinian people,
and for exercising its veto when any action critical of Israel comes before the
United Nations.

"IADL supports the boycott divestment and
sanctions movement to boycott Israeli products as well as businesses which
support the Occupation, and to sanction Israel for its crimes"

We urgently call for all
states to immediately put an end to any commercial transaction regarding
weapons and military technology to and from Israel, in compliance with the
general disarmament duties laid out in Article 26 of the UN Charter.

IADL confirms and declares that we shall work side by side with the
Palestinian people in their pursuit to end the illegal occupation and realized their
right to self-determination by:

1- Setting up and assisting in the coordination of an
international network of jurists who stand in solidarity with the Palestinian
people, and pledge to take up their cause all over the world, using all
national and international legal instruments available to challenge Israeli
impunity, end the illegal occupation, closure and consequent human rights


2- To assist all our member organizations around the
world to engage in promoting an economic, cultural and academic boycott of Israel, as part
of the international campaign for boycott, divestment, and sanctions.