Professor Michael Lynk, (bottom left) UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territories responded to questions about his work at the UN from OFIP panelists and a large audience. Clockwise: Peter Larson, Chair, OFIP, Eman Ayyoub, Rebekah Sears and David Halton. Watch video of the informative session.
In an hour and a half interactive Zoom session, Professor Michael Lynk discussed his work as Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.
Lynk explained that part of his job is to make a report to the UN every six months on human rights violations in the OPT. In his 2019 report, he focussed on how the UN should make Israel accountable for its violations of international law. In his upcoming report, to be filed with the UN General Assembly, he will zero in on making international companies accountable if, in violation of international law, they do business in and profit from, the Occupied Territories.
The special rapporteur has filed eight 10,000 word reports with the UN since being named in 2016. A ninth report will be filed at the UN General Assembly this fall.
Some quotable quotes from Professor Lynk
- On accusations he is “biased”
“I came into this position 4 ½ years ago with an open mind. But I didn’t come in with an empty mind. I had read a lot. I knew a lot about the situation. As any good lawyer ought to be, I’m always willing to change my mind. You know when the facts change, my mind changes too.”
- On justice
“The way I see it: There are more than 6 ½ million Israeli Jews and more than 6 ½ million Palestinian Arabs, Christian and Muslim, who live between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea. Neither group is going anywhere. And the only way they’re going to be able to live in prosperity and harmony is by living in equality and justice.”
- On the occupation
“This occupation has gone on for 53 years. No occupying country which, in good faith, is intending to return the occupied land to the people, the sovereignty, would be there that long. The world has kept on saying: “Well, maybe there’s an inkling of good faith in what the Israelis are doing.” But you know, the good faith barometer has long since broken with respect to this.”
- On the solution
“Sometimes people say: Well, it can never get resolved; it’s about ancient hatreds; people who are incompatible with each other living on the same soil.
“I don’t believe any of that. This is really in its essence a story of human rights, or the lack thereof. And the main struggle there is for the recognition of human rights, both individual and collective. Once that’s done then I think a lot of tension and a lot of stress will be released from that region, and they can then figure out in a judicious and democratic fashion how to wind up living together.”
The 90 min Zoom session was oversold but it was also recorded live on Facebook where another 100 or so people followed it. It is available here whether you have a Facebook account or not.
Canada Talks Israel Palestine (CTIP) is the weekly newsletter of Peter Larson, Chair of the Ottawa Forum on Israel/Palestine (OFIP). It aims to promote a serious discussion in Canada about the complicated and emotional Israel/Palestine issue with a focus on the truth, clear analysis and human rights for all. Readers with different points of view are invited to make comment.
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