At the outset, I wish to thank you, Mr. President, for convening this “High-Level Event on the Contributions of Human Rights and the Rule of Law in the Post 2015 Development Agenda”, and to express our appreciation for your active efforts to explore the inter-related aspects relevant to the post-2015 development agenda in a coherent, holistic manner and your strong commitment to promoting sustainable, and attainable, development goals for all.
The State of Palestine supports the inclusion of the rule of law and respect for human rights as foundational principles in the post-2015 development agenda, based on a profound belief that they are among the main keys to ensuring peaceful, stable, economically and socially-empowered, resilient and prosperous societies. In the specific case of Palestine, we firmly believe that they also constitute the keys to ending the occupation and injustice the Palestinian people have been subjected to for decades, comprehensively resolving the conflict, achieving freedom, human rights and justice for our people, and establishing peace and security.
Thus, on 1 April 2014, the State of Palestine made the noble decision to accede to several international conventions, among them the core human rights treaties, including, inter alia, the International Covenants on Civil and Political Rights and on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights; the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women; the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Involvement of Children in armed conflict; the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities; the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination; and the Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhumane or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, as well as the core humanitarian law conventions – the four Geneva Conventions and Additional Protocol (1); and the Hague Convention (IV) on War on Land and its Annexed Regulations.
The State of Palestine is honored, proud and humbled by the opportunity to be a State Party to these important international instruments alongside other States Parties. We wish today to reaffirm our strong commitment to upholding our responsibilities under the conventions to which we have become a State Party and to promoting full respect of the human rights and principles enshrined therein. Palestine fully recognizes the critical importance of developing and maintaining a strong societal backbone rooted in the rule of law and human rights for shaping and sustaining development nationally, regionally and internationally.
The challenge for the State of Palestine, however has been that we remain in the midst of conflict – a now 47-year military occupation, whereby Israel, the occupying Power, continues to commit systematic and gross human rights violations against the Palestinian people and to aggressively colonize the Palestinian land in grave breach of international humanitarian law. The cumulative impact of these illegal practices has inflicted great hardship and humanitarian suffering on our people and has severely undermined our aspirations and efforts to develop our society and nation at all levels and in all fields.
Indeed, the Special Event on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) Outcome Document clearly recognized the special challenges to meeting the MDGs faced by people living under foreign occupation. In this regard, relevant reports point to the direct, negative impact of Israeli violations on the prospects for sustainable development in Palestine. Thus, in our pursuit of the post-2015 development goals, a central priority will remain bringing an end to the Israeli occupation that began in 1967, achieving the independence and sovereignty of the State of Palestine, with East Jerusalem as its capital, and justly addressing all core issues in order to end this prolonged conflict and establish peace, security and coexistence between the State of Palestine and Israel. We believe these to be imperative for ensuring the ultimate success of our efforts to promote sustainable development, eradicate poverty and hunger, and promote the enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms, democracy and prosperity for our people.
We thus join the many other States that emphasized the necessity of ensuring that human rights and the law underpin our future sustainable development goals, and we reaffirm our readiness to uphold our national, as well as international, duties and obligations in this regard, including in the context of the collective efforts to promote sustainable development for all in the post-2015 era, recognizing that “lasting peace and sustainable development cannot be fully realized without respect for human rights and the rule of law”, as was so rightly stated in the Secretary-General’s report “A life of dignity for all”.
I thank you, Mr. President.