Bethlehem/PNN/ 13 March 2019
On Monday, Al-Marsad – Arab Human Rights Centre in Golan Heights (“Al-Marsad”) presented its report on Israel’s violations of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (“Covenant”) to a pre-sessional working group for the United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (“Committee”).
Al-Marsad’s report and presentation called on the Committee to, for the first time, demand that the Israeli occupying authority bring its administration of the occupied Syrian Golan (“Golan”) in line with its obligations under the Covenant.
In January 2019, Al-Marsad submitted a comprehensive report to the Committee discussing how Israel systematically discriminates against and oppresses the remaining native Syrians in the Golan by restricting their access to basic economic, social, and cultural rights.
Israel’s violations of the Covenant in the Golan include its actions in ignoring the self-determination rights of the native Syrians, restricting native Syrians’ rights to freely choose the work they desire by propagating suffocating business regulations, and relentlessly pursuing a “Druze narrative” for the region that washes out Arab-Syrian culture in favor of an Israeli-Druze nationalist identity.
This week, the Committee is holding pre-sessional working group meetings to develop a “list of issues” for its review of Israel’s adherence to the Covenant as a State Party. Al-Marsad presented its report to the Committee with other reputable human rights organizations operating in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories.
The Committee was receptive to Al-Marsad’s report and asked question on recent developments in the region. Al-Marsad concluded its remarks by encouraging the Committee to adopt a “list of issues” that includes Israel’s abusive actions in the Golan. The issues impacting the Golan have been left off the agenda in all of the Committee’s prior reviews of Israel.
Al-Marsad continues to demand that all appropriate legal bodies, domestically, regionally, and internationally, hold Israel accountable for its failures to uphold its obligations under domestic and international law. Al-Marsad also calls on all international legal institutions that have long ignored the occupation in the Golan to break their silence on the issue and refuse to let Israel continue violating international law with impunity.