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5 June 2017 | | | | | | |

Friends of the Earth International demands UN Human Rights Council to put pressure on Israel and to condemn human rights violations on the 50th year of Israeli occupation of Palestine

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On June 5th, 1967, Israeli military forces attacked Egypt, Syria, Iraq and Jordan armies, in what was the beginning of the “Six-Day War” which resulted in the Israeli seizure of East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza (the three of them Palestinian Territories), Golan Heights (Syria) and the Sinai Peninsula from Egypt. This Monday marks 50 years of the occupation.

The only territory that has been returned to its legitimate owners was the Egyptian territory and Israel has continued consolidating its expansion project in Palestinian lands. “During these fifty years we have been actively denied our human rights, denied the right to free movement, to manage our resources, the access our land, water, which is a basic human right”, said on Monday, Palestinian activist Abeer Butmeh of PENGON – Friends of the Earth Palestine in an interview with Real World Radio.

The environmental activist highlighted that her people is suffering an “Apartheid regime”, excessive use of force by Israeli military officers, construction of illegal settlements, demolition of Palestinian houses and violations of the rights to education and health.

In Geneva, Switzerland, as part of a delegation of Friends of the Earth International (FoEI) on the occasion of the 35th regular session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) which will start on Tuesday, Abeer also denounced the Israeli construction of an “Apartheid wall that separates and divides Palestinian lands, damages ecosystems and confiscates Palestinian lands”. She warned that illegal settlements have expanded “at an alarming level” with a “high rate” of demolition of Palestinian homes in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

These are some of the main messages that FoEI is bringing to the UNHRC´s session, which will take place through June 23rd. On the 19th there will be a special session on human rights in Palestine and other occupied Arab territories. The environmental federation is also present at the Council´s session because it is pushing for the adoption of a binding treaty on transnational corporations and human rights violations, under negotiation by a UN working group.

The Global Campaign to Dismantle Corporate Power and Stop Impunity, which is pushing for this legal agreement (with FoEI among its members) will carry out a parallel activity on June 7th in the framework of the UNHRC session to analyze the risks of corporate power concentration for human rights and the people. There, Abeer will discuss the impunity of Israeli corporations in her country, particularly the role of Mekorot, Israel´s water company which prevents Palestinians from having access to this basic human resource. This parallel activity will be facilitated by FoEI´s Chair, Karin Nansen (see schedule attached).

In the interview with Real World Radio, Abeer also denounced “ the Gaza situation, which is entering its tenth year of Israeli blockade, which is a collective punishment to all citizens and violates the right to life, health, movement and expression”. “And if it is continues it would be a catastrophe unsustainable by 2020”, she added.

The representative of PENGON – Friends of the Earth Palestine reminded the world that the Israeli occupation continues with illegal practices against the Palestinian people, its environment and natural resources, and demanded the UN Human Rights Council to take “immediate actions” for Israel to respond for its atrocities in Palestinian lands.

Abeer made reference to the “victory for dignity” of the hunger strike carried out by Palestinian political prisoners held in Israeli prisons, which ended a few days ago, and demanded the States at the UN to “fulfill their obligations under international law and put pressure on Israel to stop these human rights violations and to condemn the excessive violations of human rights”.

Imagen: Víctor Barro - Friends of the Earth International

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