Israel asked the Human Rights Council to postpone its review

After months of suspended relations, the Permanent Mission of Israel has contacted on 10 January the Human Rights Council (the Council) President, H.E. Remigiusz Achilles Henczel, to request the postponement of their review.

Israel had suspended its relations with the Council in a letter published on 14 May 2012. As a consequence, it was not going to participate in its UPR and did not submit a national report due in October 2012.

The Council held yesterday Monday 14 January 2013 an organisational meeting (OM) to draw by lots the troika members of the countries reviewed in session 15 (21 January - 1 February), 16 (22 April - 3 May) and 17 (21 October - 1 November), including Israel.

As the Israel delegation was not present to draw its troika, the President suggested firstly to draw himself the troika members, as it is the case for countries without a mission in Geneva, and secondly to suspend the OM until Tuesday 29, the day of review of Israel, to see whether the country would be present. In case of absence, the Council could then take a decision on 29 January.

Canada, Costa Rica, Germany, Ireland (on behalf of the European Union), Gabon (on behalf of the African Group) and the United States supported this proposal. Pakistan (on behalf of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference) also agreed to suspend the OM but wanted the Council to take a decision before the 29. Furthermore, Pakistan linked Israel's situation with the case of "persistent non-cooperation with the mechanism" as described in art. 38 of resolution 5/1.

Until the 29 January, Israel was asked to put its request for the postponement in writing and to clarify the rationale for the request and its proposed duration.

The only country which had its review postponed over the first cycle was Haiti. Following the earthquake of 10 January 2010, a special session was held by the Council during which the delegation requested the UPR to be postponed. The Council accepted so in a decision adopted on 27 January 2010.

While the best solution for Israel and the international community would be the actual participation of Israel to its own review, the concepts of "persistent non-cooperation with the mechanism" and "fully involve the country under review" (art. 3 (e) resolution 5/1) need to be defined in order to better prepare the decision to be taken on the 29.

UPR Info takes note positively of Israel's decision to partly resume its cooperation with the Council, and calls on the State to be present for its own review on the 29 January.