Palestinians failed to win urgent UNHRC session against Israel

Although on this Monday, March 19th, the UN Human Rights Council will already be holding an entire day devoted to Israel’s alleged misdeeds, as it does at every one of its meetings, pursuant to a special agenda item targeting Israel, the Palestinian delegation this week took the floor dramatically (see video here) to demand that the council pause all of its deliberations on world human rights problems in order to hold an “Urgent Debate” this week on Israel’s alleged criminality in Gaza during the recent flare-up.

So far, and this is exceptional if not  unheard of at the UNHRC, the Palestinians seem to have failed to muster support for such an interruption to the session schedule. See the recent HRC bureau minutes below.

Minutes of the (UNHRC) Bureau meeting held on 12 March 2012
The Bureau held a meeting to discuss this afternoon oral statement by Palestine concerning the latest urgent developments in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. In its statement, Palestine requested that emergency measures be taken as soon as possible by the HRC. At 6.15 p.m., the Bureau had not received a written request from Palestine confirming the oral request made in the room. However the delegation of Palestine informed that such a written request would be sent at a later stage. Nonetheless, the Bureau discussed the procedure to be followed upon receipt of such a written request. Reference was made to the precedents of the urgent debate that was held on the flotilla (June 2010), as well as the one recently held on the Syrian Arab Republic (February 2012). The Secretariat pointed to the fact that the Palestinian request would imply a change in the Programme of Work, which is a living document. From a logistical point of view, the meeting could be held either on Wednesday 14 March or Monday 19 March, lunchtime, since these were the only free slots left. Should an objection be raised and a request for a vote made, then the HRC would have to proceed to a vote regarding the holding of such an urgent debate.  A letter by Israel to the High Commissioner (copied to the HRC President) concerning the situation in Southern Israel was also circulated to all Bureau members. Such a letter will be circulated as an official HRC19 document, upon request by Israel.


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