UN appoints arbitration committee to probe Israeli apartheid

The UN has appointed an arbitration committee to probe Palestinian Authority charges that Israel committed acts of apartheid.

Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas arrives to delivers a speech during the United Nations Human Rights Council on February 27, 2017 in Geneva (photo credit: FABRICE COFFRINI / AFP)
Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas arrives to delivers a speech during the United Nations Human Rights Council on February 27, 2017 in Geneva
(photo credit: FABRICE COFFRINI / AFP)

The UN has appointed a five-member ad hoc conciliatory committee to arbitrate Palestinian Authority charges that Israel committed acts of apartheid in the West Bank, east Jerusalem and Gaza.

It’s the latest step in a procedure that began in 2018 when the PA filed a charge of apartheid with the 18-member professional UN body known as the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

Both Israel and the PA are signatories to the convention, which allows CERD to monitor their compliance with human rights and allows each to set in motion an investigation against the other.

In 2018, the PA complained that Israel was not in compliance with Articles 2, 3 and 5 of the convention.

Article 3 binds signatories to “condemn racial segregation and apartheid and undertake to prevent, prohibit and eradicate all practices of this nature in territories under their jurisdiction.”

 Deputy Minister, Alvin Botes delivers a National Statement at the Annual High Level Panel on Human Rights Mainstreaming under the theme “Thirty years of implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child: challenges and opportunities”, at the UNHRC, Geneva. (credit: FLICKR) Deputy Minister, Alvin Botes delivers a National Statement at the Annual High Level Panel on Human Rights Mainstreaming under the theme “Thirty years of implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child: challenges and opportunities”, at the UNHRC, Geneva. (credit: FLICKR)

The five-member committee will be composed of Verene Sheperd, Gün Kut, Pansy Tlakula, Chinsung Chung and Michał Balcerzak.

The committee was formed prior to the opening later this month of the United Nations Human Rights Council’s 49th session.

It’s expected that special rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories Michael Lynk will file a report to the UNHRC, which will accuse it of executing the crime of apartheid.

The three-member Commission of Inquiry, tasked with an open-ended probe into Israeli war crimes, is also expected to tackle the claims of apartheid when it produces its first report for the council’s 50th session.

On Thursday, a consortium of Palestinian non-governmental groups filed a report to the Committee on the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which also charged that Israel is guilty of apartheid.