On 8 December 2023, the UN Human Rights Council (the Council) announced that a vote is expected in January 2024, possibly on 10 January 2024, to elect the Council’s President for the 18th cycle in 2024 from the Africa Group. The State representatives who have put forward their candidacies are Morocco and South Africa. In a joint letter, NGOs urge all members of the Council to elect the Council President based on Council membership criteria.
ISHR considers that all situations should be dealt with on their merits through the consistent and principled application of objective criteria that treat respect for human rights and humanitarian law and principles as paramount.
Applying these criteria to the situation in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories, particularly the Gaza Strip, and as the UN General Assembly and the UN Security Council meet to discuss the situation, ISHR calls for:
- All States to implement their duty to prevent genocide and protect civilian populations from genocide;
- An immediate ceasefire, including but not limited to a cessation of all attacks that target or indiscriminately affect civilians and civilian infrastructure;
- Unimpeded access to fuel and humanitarian aid to all areas in Gaza, including medical supplies, and the immediate restoration of access to food, water, electricity and other essential needs, to alleviate the humanitarian crisis;
- An end to the 16 year-old illegal siege and closure of the Gaza Strip, which constitutes collective punishment;
- The immediate and unconditional release of all hostages and all persons deprived of liberty without due process, enabling them to return to their families – including through the assistance of neutral intermediaries such as the ICRC;
- The protection of human rights defenders, journalists and humanitarian workers;
- Investigation and steps towards accountability for war crimes, crimes against humanity and other grave violations and abuses committed by both State and non-State actors;
- Concrete steps to address the root causes of violations and abuses and the ongoing Israeli military aggression, including through reaffirming the rights of the Palestinian people to self-determination and return, and calling for an end to, and accountability for, Israeli policies and practices of apartheid and settler colonialism;
- An immediate cessation by third States of the provision of military equipment and aid that may foreseeably be used in the commission of war crimes or otherwise contrary to international humanitarian law;
- Clear and unequivocal calls by third States for respect for human rights and humanitarian law, denunciation of all war crimes and crimes against humanity without discrimination, and cessation of statements that may be interpreted as supporting the use of force contrary to international law; and
- Action by the UN Security Council to implement sanctions and other countermeasures until Israel adheres to its obligations under international law.
ISHR joins forces with global civil society groups in a joint appeal at the Human Rights Council for enhanced, inclusive, and secure civil society participation in human rights dialogues. Read the full statement here.
ISHR and the #Right2DefendRights coalition of 17 members are calling on all UN Member States to celebrate 25 years of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders by joining the UN 'Push for Pledges' campaign.