Human Rights Committee questions Israel on rights related to housing, water, sanitation and agricultural land
Relying on the Parallel Report submitted by the Global Initiative for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the Human Rights Committee this week questioned Israel on violations of rights related to housing, water, sanitation and agricultural land. The Report and questioning focused in part on Israel’s failure to implement the previous Concluding Observations adopted in 2010. The 2010 Concluding Observations where the result of a Joint Parallel Report submitted by Global Initiative staff, then with the Centre on Housing Rights and Evictions (COHRE), and its partner Al Haq. That Parallel Report resulted in the some of the strongest statements by the Human Rights Committee to date on violations related to housing and the first Concluding Observations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) related to access to water and sanitation.
This week, on the issue of access to water, the Committee questioned Israel on the lack of access to water for Palestinians living in the West Bank as well as the dangerously low quality of water in the Gaza Strip. In 2010, the Committee found that denial of access to water could amount to a violation of the right to life guaranteed by Article 6 of the ICCPR.
The Committee also questioned Israel on the lack of electricity and water in the context of access to sanitation. It also focused on the right to ancestral land and traditional livelihood of the Bedouin population as well as access of all Palestinians to natural resources including agricultural land. The focus on denial of access to agricultural land was a focus of the GI-ESCR Parallel Report and the questioning on this issue is groundbreaking under the ICCPR.
The Committee again condemned punitive house demolitions as well as forced evictions in the context of construction of Israeli settlements and discriminatory planning and zoning regimes. In 2010, the Committee reaffirmed that forced evictions violate the right to be free from unlawful or arbitrary interference with the home (Art. 17) but also found that they may rise to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment in violation of Article 7 of the ICCPR.
The GI-ESCR hopes that the resulting Concluding Observations from this round of periodic reporting will reaffirm that denial of access to, or destruction of, housing, water and sanitation violate the ICCPR, and hopes that the Committee also finds that denial of access to, or destruction of, agricultural land also rises to such violations.
Transcript of Human Rights Committee questions is available HERE.
Global Initiative for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights Parallel Report is available HERE.
Global Initiative for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights Parallel Report for the List of Issues is available HERE.
Human Rights Committee 2010 Concluding Observations are available HERE.
COHRE / Al Haq 2010 Parallel Report is available HERE.