“Grave violations and aggression by Israel against the Palestinian people continued in a culture of impunity,” says Human Rights Council
On 24 March The Human Rights Council held a general debate on the human rights situation in Palestine and other Occupied Arab Territories, in a meeting at which four reports on the human rights situation in Palestine and other occupied Arab territories were presented.
The Secretary-General’s report again confirmed continued flagrant violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law.
Navi Pillay, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights said that the reports highlighted the issue of settlements, which, together with settler violence, were at the core of many of the human rights violations in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem.
Despite repeated calls on Israel to cease settlement activity, their construction continued with devastating consequences for Palestinian civilians. Ms. Pillay also expressed deep concern at the situation in Gaza.
In a Press Release published on 30 January 2014, Oxfam accepted Scarlett Johansson’s resignation over their mutual conflict of ethics, sorry – interests regarding her promotion of SodaStream. Hey, Oxfam – why didn’t YOU take the initiative?
The text is as follows:
Oxfam has accepted Scarlett Johansson’s decision to step down after eight years as a Global Ambassador and we are grateful for her many contributions.
While Oxfam respects the independence of our ambassadors, Ms. Johansson’s role promoting the company SodaStream is incompatible with her role as an Oxfam Global Ambassador.
Oxfam believes that businesses, such as SodaStream, that operate in settlements further the ongoing poverty and denial of rights of the Palestinian communities that we work to support.
Oxfam is opposed to all trade from Israeli settlements, which are illegal under international law. Ms. Johansson has worked with Oxfam since 2005 and in 2007 became a Global Ambassador, helping to highlight the impact of natural disasters and raise funds to save lives and fight poverty.
Oxfam global ambassadors must demonstrate that they are worthy of both Oxfam’s and the international community’s respect by conducting themselves in a manner commensurate with the principles of Oxfam.
A person promoting – thus condoning – gross breaches of international law, is surely not a suitable Global Ambassador for Oxfam.
Oxfam Global Ambassador Scarlett Johannson has signed on to a SodaStream Endorsement deal. SodaStream is an Israeli company that makes products in a settlement built on West Bank territory Israel has occupied since 1967. Such settlements are illegal under international law, and the subject of several United Nations Resolutions.
Continuing to use Scarlett Johannson as an Oxfam Global Ambassador implies that Oxfam also condones these practices, which contravene the rights of Palestinians and the will of the international community, as well as international law.
If thumbing its nose at international law has become one of the principles of Oxfam, the international community – who provides a significant proportion of Oxfam’s funding – has the right to a clear statement on it, not to be fobbed off with secret “dialogue” between Oxfam and Scarlett Johannson.
In the circumstances, the clearest statement that Oxfam does NOT condone breaking international law, or profiteering from illegal Israeli settlement activity, is to immediately dissociate the organisation from the person promoting such practices – Scarlett Johansson.
Oxfam cannot expect either continued support OR respect from the international community otherwise.
Is an ethics-deficient Hollywood actress really worth so much more than the years of goodwill, assistance and hard work Oxfam has achieved to date, and with good judgement and good leadership, could continue to achieve?
Every minute that Oxfam prevaricates on this issue causes more damage to Palestinians, to Oxfam, and to the people it was designed to help – the poor, not transnational companies contravening international law, and exploiting Palestinians for commercial profit.
I draw your attention to a statement made in the Guardian a few months after your appointment to the position of CEO of Oxfam: “We want an organisation that represents the next 50 years, not the last 50.”
I also want Oxfam to be an organisation that represents the next 50 years – of justice, freedom and economic opportunity for Palestinians on their own lands, not the last 50 years that have represented nothing but ethnic cleansing, displacement, land theft, and loss of Palestinian life and liberty through illegal Israeli settlements.
As CEO I ask you to take a step towards that future, and immediately relieve Scarlett Johannson of her Oxfam Global Ambassadorship.
OHCHR PRESS RELEASE
GENEVA, 31 JANUARY 2013 – The International Fact-Finding Mission on Israeli Settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory today published its findings on the implications Israeli settlements have upon the human rights of the Palestinian people.
The report states that a multitude of the human rights of the Palestinians are violated in various forms and ways due to the existence of the settlements.
These violations are all interrelated, forming part of an overall pattern of breaches that are characterised principally by the denial of the right to self-determination and systemic discrimination against the Palestinian people which occur on a daily basis.
Since 1967, Israeli governments have openly led, directly participated in, and had full control of the planning, construction, development, consolidation and encouragement of settlements, the report states.
“In compliance with Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention Israel must cease all settlement activities without preconditions,” said Ms. Christine Chanet, chair of the Mission from France.
The report states that settlements are established and developed for the exclusive benefit of Israeli Jews. The settlements are maintained and advanced through a system of total segregation between the settlers and the rest of the population living in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. This system of segregation is supported and facilitated by strict military and law enforcement control to the detriment of the rights of the Palestinian population.
“We are today calling on the government of Israel to ensure full accountability for all violations, put an end to the policy of impunity and to ensure justice for all victims,” said Ms. Asma Jahangir, member of the Mission from Pakistan.
The report states that Israel is committing serious breaches of its obligations under the right to self-determination and under humanitarian law. The report also concludes that the Rome Statute establishes the International Criminal Court’s jurisdiction over the transfer of populations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.
“The magnitude of violations relating to Israel’s policies of dispossessions, evictions, demolitions and displacements from land shows the widespread nature of these breaches of human rights. The motivation behind violence and intimidation against the Palestinians and their properties is to drive the local populations away from their lands, allowing the settlements to expand,” said Ms. Unity Dow, member of the Mission from Botswana.
The report states that private entities have also enabled, facilitated and profited from the construction of the settlements – both directly and indirectly.
NOTES TO EDITORS:
· The full report is available at: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/HRC/RegularSessions/Session19/Pages/IsraeliSettlementsInTheOPT.aspx
· The press release is available in Hebrew, Arabic, French and English at: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/HRC/RegularSessions/Session19/Pages/IsraeliSettlementsInTheOPT.aspx
· All media enquiries and requests for interviews should be emailed to: email@example.com or telephone: + 41 79 752 0481.
· Full title of the report: “Report of the independent international fact-finding mission to investigate the implications of the Israeli settlements on the civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights of the Palestinian people throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem”.
· The report will be formally presented to the Human Rights Council (HRC) on 18 March 2013.
· The International Fact-Finding Mission: Israeli Settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory was established by Human Rights Council Resolution 19/17.
· On 22 March 2012, at its 19th session, the Human Rights Council (HRC) adopted resolution 19/17 entitled “Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and in the occupied Syrian Golan” by which the HRC decided to “dispatch an independent international fact-finding mission, to be appointed by the President of the Human Rights Council, to investigate the implications of the Israeli settlements on the civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights of the Palestinian people throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem.”
· For the full 19/17 Resolution text:
· For further information: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/HRC/RegularSessions/Session19/Pages/IsraeliSettlementsInTheOPT.aspx