Israel deny Palestine’s right to development, cause massive poverty, “epic” unemployment and economic stagnation, UN human rights expert found.
UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967 Michael Lynk expressed deep concerns about the situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT) regarding the right to development.
He called on Israel to bring a complete end to almost 50 years of occupation, describing an atmosphere of “despair and hopelessness” among Palestinian citizens.
“The Palestinian economy is without parallel in the modern world,” said Lynk, delivering his first report to the UN General Assembly in New York.
“Israel’s occupation is denying Palestine’s right to development and severely hampering its ability to attain even the minimum targets of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
“Poverty is rising. Unemployment is rising to epic levels. Food insecurity is becoming more acute. The Palestinian economy is becoming more stifled and less viable under the occupation,” the expert said.
“Israel’s deliberate fragmentation of the OPT and lack of development has negatively impacted human rights.
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Unmatched unemployment rate
Gaza has among the highest unemployment rates in the world – an overall figure of 42 per cent, rising to 58 per cent among the youth population, Lynk noted. In the OPT as a whole, unemployment hit 27 per cent in 2016 – up from 12 per cent in 1999.
“This occupation, which will be 50 years old in 2017, is seriously deficient in its respect for the legal principles and obligations embedded within the right to development,” said Lynk.
“The deepening of the occupation, the constriction of basic human rights and the utter absence of a political horizon leading to self-determination for the Palestinians have reinforced an atmosphere of despair and hopelessness,” he stressed.
The Special Rapporteur said he had not received a reply from the Israeli government to his request to visit the OPT, noting the duty of Member States to cooperate with the UN human rights mechanisms as a fundamental obligation.
Lynk met civil society groups, international organisations and Palestinian government officials during a visit in July 2016 to the Jordanian capital, Amman, where he also received submissions for his report.
The Special Rapporteur praised human rights groups in the region for their inspirational courage and commitment.