On 23 April, The Guardian reported that Palestinian diplomats had filed an inter-state complaint against Israel for breaches of its obligations under the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD). According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates of the State of Palestine:
Palestine is a State whose territory remains under a belligerent colonial occupation. For its part, Israel, the occupying Power, has maintained its colonial occupation over the past fifty years by imposing racist and discriminatory policies against Palestinian citizens. Confronting this pervasive reality of racism and discrimination is a priority. This cannot wait. It should not. No person or people should be asked to tolerate racism or the violence and injustice it breeds.
The Guardian writes that “the submission is believed to be the first interstate complaint filed under the treaty”. This is true in relation to ICERD, and also the entirety of the UN international human rights treaties; as the OHCHR highlights in its portal on inter-state complaints: “Note: these procedures have never been used.”
The inter-state procedure is not found in every treaty – there is no formal procedure for filing inter-state complaints under CEDAW and its Optional Protocol. The procedure is found in ICCPR, ICESCR, CAT, CMW, CED and Optional Protocols, but it is generally optional and both States have to have recognised the competence of the Committee to receive such communications. Read the rest of this entry…