Assembly hall of the UNHRC, Geneva
In May 2021 the UNHRC created an “ongoing independent, international commission of inquiry” (COI) with a sweeping mandate to investigate “all alleged violations of international humanitarian law and all alleged violations and abuses of international human rights law leading up to and since April 13, 2021, in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and all underlying root causes of recurrent tensions, instability, and protraction of conflict, including systematic discrimination and repression based on national, ethnic, racial or religious identity.”
The Commission of Inquiry (COI)
With the establishment of this Commission, the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) has launched the most hostile anti-Israel “inquiry” in UN history. It is headed by the former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, South African Navi Pillay, known inter alia for her involvement and support of the Boycott, Divest and Sanction (BDS) movement. Her two deputies have years of experience condemning Israel.
The Council resolution (Res. S-30/1) establishing the Commission did not refer to Hamas at all. It did not mention – let alone condemn – the launch of thousands of rockets by Hamas into Israel. Indeed, the Israeli civilian population was omitted from the resolution. The only civilians mentioned are the “Palestinian civilian population in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.” Nor did the resolution condemn the use by Palestinian terror groups of Palestinian civilians as human shields – a war crime.
The “inquiry” will have the mandate to investigate “discrimination and repression based on national, ethnic, racial or religious identity” and to find discrimination and repression at the hands of Jews. This is a full-frontal attack on the Jewish nation, an inversion of the truth.
The reports of the COI are likely to include conclusions based on hearsay allegations, and those reports are likely to be put forward in proceedings of the International Criminal Court (ICC) and other courts, even though the material on which they are based would be inadmissible as well as unreliable.
The verdict of this commission is a foregone conclusion. This verdict and subsequent verdicts will be put forward to the International Criminal Court on a continual basis, and seriously impact the proceedings at the Court against Israeli leaders. This potentially very dangerous development must be prevented, e.g. by removing the Commission’s funding.
UN General Assembly
The UN General Assembly has given the COI a budget of $18 million and a staff of 18 full-time employees. This Commission is unprecedented in the history of the United Nations human rights system in terms of funding, staffing, and permanence.
As the budget of the COI is covered by the UN General Assembly, which is funded by the member states, every taxpayer in the world will contribute to the delegitimisation of the State of Israel.
Governments should be encouraged to disapprove the Human Rights Council’s “inquiry” – rather than abstain. This is possible; after intensive debate, more than 30 nations boycotted the biased and antisemitic Durban hate fest in September 2021.
A number of countries have expressed their concerns. For example, the Australian government stated that “the Commission of Inquiry’s mandate is excessively broad. It is one-sided, open-ended, and over-resourced.”
These concerns need to be converted into action.
The Hague Initiative for International Cooperation (thinc.) was established in The Hague (the global capital of international law) in 2017 to fight the delegitimization of the State of Israel, and promote a fair and balanced approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. We are deeply concerned about the COI and we will act: we have set up a campaign to-
- raise public awareness about the legal and policy objections to the COI
- urge governments of key countries to withdraw funding for the COI
- bring legal challenges to the COI where possible.
thinc. is currently creating specific documentation to support the campaign, including a fact sheet, briefing papers and a legal opinion document. These documents will be published asap. Click here to download the fact sheet.
This is an intensive and also costly campaign, including i.a. the consultation of well-known legal experts. We need to raise a total of € 100,000 to carry out this campaign. If 2,000 people each donate € 50 / $ 60 (or more), we will meet our target. Please, donate now.