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Appointment of the Ad Hoc Conciliation Commissions under ICERD

The inter-State communications procedure under Articles 11-13 International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD) lay dormant for over 50 years before its activation in March-April 2018 in three inter-State communications, Qatar v Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (2018), Qatar v United Arab Emirates (2018) and Palestine v Israel (2018). These were the first inter-State communications ever submitted to a UN treaty body. As readers of this blog will recall, the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) ruled positively on the questions of jurisdiction and admissibility in all three cases to date (see Keane, Eiken and Eiken). These communications have now all progressed to the establishment of ad hoc Conciliation Commissions which are tasked with examining the issues of substance raised in the communications. While the mode of composition of the ad hoc Conciliation Commission appears to be a rather technical question, its examination allows for interesting observations on the nature of the inter-State mechanism. ICERD’s inter-State procedure unfolds before two bodies. Under Article 11,…

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Human Rights Watch Responds: Reflections on Apartheid and Persecution in International Law

We appreciate the rich discussion triggered by this week’s EJIL Talk! symposium, which has addressed a number of legal issues arising from our report “A Threshold Crossed: Israeli Authorities and the Crimes of Apartheid and Persecution.” The report has received significant media attention and sparked many useful conversations since its release in late April. But…

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The Apartheid Accusation Against Israel is Baseless – and Agenda-Driven

Human Rights Watch’s new report accusing Israel of the crime of apartheid is, despite its length, a propaganda document: full of falsehoods and distortions. The world it describes is an alternate reality. Addressing a document so agenda-driven and skewed presents the challenge of dealing with Big Lies: merely engaging with them gives at least some credibility to its…

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Uncomfortable truths: how HRW errs in its definition of “Israeli apartheid”, what is missing, and what are the implications?

The discourse on apartheid in the Israeli-Palestinian context has evolved. Coinciding with the formal opening of an investigation by the ICC (as well as the admissibility decision in the inter-State proceedings initiated by Palestine before the CERD – see here), between January and June 2021 several organisations and authors – most notably Human Rights Watch (in A…

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Apartheid, the Green Line, and the Need to Overcome Palestinian Fragmentation

Human Rights Watch’s recent report, A Threshold Crossed: Israeli Authorities and the Crimes of Apartheid and Persecution, adds to a growing body of literature that considers the relevance of apartheid to the plight of the Palestinian people. Building on early, foundational work by Palestinian and Jewish anti-Zionist scholars, the apartheid analysis allows for consideration…

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