HRC President presents report on dialogue with Israel

Following Israel's non-participation in its review during the 15th Session of the UPR last January, the President of the Human Rights Council on Friday 7 June 2013 gave a report on the Human Rights Council (HRC) decision A/HRC/OM/7/1 (EN, FR, ES, AR, RU, CN) of 29 January 2013. In his statement, he briefed delegates on the measures taken as HRC President to encourage Israel to resume its engagement with the UPR. He noted that after a few correspondences with the Permanent Representative of Israel, the latter reaffirmed its intention to continue dialogue with the HRC and its mechanisms. With this positive response from Israel, the State's review has been postponed to Tuesday 29 October 2013 during the 17th session of the Working Group of the UPR of October/November 2013. The HRC President concluded his statement by urging Israel to partake in the review scheduled for this date.

In response to his report, some countries took the floor to express their positions on the issue. Although appreciative and welcoming of the president's active engagement in attempting to encourage renewed cooperation of the State of Israel in the UPR process, many States questioned the extent to which the written consent of Israel to cooperate with the HRC could serve as real engagement in the process. While Canada saw the step by Israel as preparedness to re-engage with the UPR process, Egypt and Tunisia considered Israel's assurance in written correspondence as non-cooperation and Tunisia urged the HRC not to renegotiate with Israel as the credibility of the UPR and the HRC were at stake. Palestine and Pakistan, speaking on behalf of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC), deemed Israel's actions as "persistent non-cooperation and non-compliancewih the UPR process. The European Union and the United States, though not taking a particular stand on the issue, pledged their full support in ensuring the respect of the universality of the UPR process in this matter. Even with the diverse positions held by different countries and regions regarding Israel's non-cooperation, most states supported the idea of having Israel's review postponed to October and pledged their support for its implementation. They encouraged Israel to partake in its review at the designated date. The OIC and Palestine pushed for it to take place with or without the presence of Israel.

UPR Info, the sole NGO taking the floor during the discussion, reiterated its call made last March to the HRC to use this opportunity of a State absent from its review to define the concept of "persistent non-cooperation". It explained that participation at one's review included also 1/ the submission of a national report, 2/ the presence at the selection of one's own troika, 3/ the participation in the interactive dialogue, 4/ the submission of an addendum and 5/ the presentation of mid-term updates on implementation of recommendations. Failure to do three or more of these steps should then be considered as "persistent non-cooperation". Non-cooperation, UPR Info also noted, includes not only the non-participation of states in the review but also non-implementation, non-acceptance of a certain number of recommendations recommendations and unjustified reasons for the rejection of particular recommendations.

The session was brought to a close with the hope that the postponement of Israel's review would produce positive outcomes for the UPR process.

View the Report of the HRC President

Countries: Israel