Human Rights Council gives Israel 60 days to respond to “racist nation-state law”


November 21, 2018

Four special rapporteurs of the Human Rights Council have given the Israeli government 60 days to respond to comments and questions about the “Racist Nation-State Law” passed by the Israeli Knesset on 19 July, 2018.

Following a special request for action issued by Adalah, The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, four independent special rapporteurs of the Human Rights Council in Geneva, including Michael Lynk, special rapporteur on human rights in Palestine, Karima Bennoune special rapporteur for cultural rights, Fernand de Varennes, special rapporteur on minority issues and E. Tendayi Achiume, special rapporteur on racism, racial discrimination and xenophobia sent a message to Israeli authorities expressing their concerns about the impact of the new law.

The special rapporteurs expressed “deep concern” that the Israeli law seems to be “discrimination in nature and in practice against non-Jewish citizens and other minorities and does not match the principle of equality between citizens which is one of the key principles for democratic political systems. ”

The special rapporteurs further expressed concern, in light of the Nation-State Law, regarding Israel’s commitments to the  International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights which both stipulate the right of all peoples to self-determination.

Alongside other requests, the special rapporteurs call on Israel to:

  • Comment on current immigration procedures in Israel, on how Jewish and non-Jewish immigrants are dealt with under current procedures, and how such provision may affect the immigration status of non-Jews and how this is assessed
  • Expand on the reasoning behind residential developments, whether it will develop further Jewish settlements, including those in Palestine which is in direct violation of international law
  • Clarify the consequences of the new status of the Arabic language, and the impact if any on its use for official purposes, including public signs, institutions such as social and health services and in the education system

Palestinian Ambassador to the UN, Riyad Mansour told Voice of Palestine radio, “This message means that the Human Rights Council recognizes that the racist law of the Jewish nation-state “is contrary to international human rights laws and norms”.

The state of Israel failed to respond to earlier concerns raised in June 2017 over what is now Jewish Nation-State Law.

The 60-day period began on 2 November, 2018.

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