The GI-ESCR undertook a fact-finding mission to Palestine (Gaza Strip and the West Bank including East Jerusalem) in July 2011 and worked with the Emergency Water, Sanitation Hygiene Group’s (EWASH) Advocacy Task Force to draft a Parallel Report to the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights regarding violations of the rights to water and sanitation by Israel in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt).

Members of the Committee relied on the Parallel Report in questioning the Israeli delegation and according the EWASH the report resulted in the rights to water and sanitation being given considerable attention by the Committee.  Subsequently, the Special Rapporteur on the oPt and a UN delegate of Norway requested copies of the report.  The latter requested a copy of the report as it chairs the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee which is examining the issue of donor aid and destruction of water and sanitation infrastructure in the oPt.

Resulting Concluding Observations of the Committee included holding Israel accountable for the fact “that Palestinians living in the oPt do not have access to sufficient and safe drinking water and adequate sanitation” and “the continuing destruction fo the water infrastructure in Gaza and in the West Bank”.  The Committee urged Israel “to take measures to ensure the availability of sufficient and safe drinking water and adequate sanitation for Palestinians living in the oPt, including through the facilitation of the entry of necessary materials to rebuild the water and sanitation systems in Gaza” and “to take urgent steps to facilitate the restoration of the water infrastructure of the West Bank including the Jordan Valley, affected by the destruction of the local civilians’ wells, roof water tanks, and other water and irrigation facilities.”

User-friendly Fact Sheet on the rights to water and sanitation, how to leverage the power of UN human rights mechanisms, and how to use the Concluding Observations in local advocacy was also produced and disseminated to grassroots and civil society organizations.