The following reports have been prepared by the Forum:
- December 2012–Report on House Demolitions of Arab-Bedouins in the Negev
- December 2012 – Processes of Dispossession in the Negev-Naqab: The Israeli policy of Counter Claims against the Bedouin-Arabs, on the occasion of International Human Rights Day, 10 December 2012
- July 2012 – NGO Report – Information on Human Rights in Israel: Presented to the United Nations Human Rights Council on the occasion of the 15th session of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) Working Group
- May 2012 – International Human Rights Day 2012 – Availability and Accessibility of Government, Commercial, Public and Health Services in Arab Villages and Structural Discrimination Against Arab Employees in Government Offices in the Negev
- April 2012 – Alternative NGO Report: Information for Establishing List of Issues for the State of Israel before The Committee on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).
- January 2012 – Alternative report to the Committee on Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD).
- December 2011 - International Human Rights Day 2011 – Report on the Demolition of Arab-Bedouin Homes in the Negev-Naqab.
- August 2011 - Response to the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights regarding its list of issues in the third periodic review of Israel.
- August 2011 – Follow-up report to the Human Rights Committee regarding its review of the implementation of its Concluding Observations on Israel under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights from July 2010.
- March 2011 – International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination – Structural Discrimination and Racism Against Arab Employees in Government Offices in the Negev and Available of Government Services in Arab Communities
- December 2010 – International Human Rights Day 2010 - A report on the right to housing – housing demolitions of Bedouin-Arabs in the Negev-Naqab.
- October 2010 – A Response to the Report of the State of Israel on Implementing the Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESER).
- March 2010 - A report to mark the International Day of the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.
- August 2009 – A Response to the Report of the State of Israel on Implementing the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (CCPR).
- April 2008 – A report concerning The Indigenous Bedouins of the Naqab-Negev Desert in Israel, submitted to the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues.
- July – August 2006 – Recommendations concerning Utilization of Bedouin Lands in the Negev for Military Purposes submitted to the UN Working Group on Indigenous populations.
- May 2006 – A report concerning The Indigenous Bedouins of the Naqab-Negev Desert in Israel, submitted to the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues.
- May 2006 – A report concerning The Arab-Bedouins of the Naqab- Negev Desert in Israel, filed to the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD).
- July 2005 – A report concerning The Indigenous Bedouins of the Naqab-Negev Desert in Israel, submitted to the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues.
United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
On September 13, 2007 the General Assembly of the UN rectified a landmark decision concerning the indigenous people and adopted the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. This decision was made after 20 years of strenuous work by the different committees of the UN on human rights and indigenous peoples. Although the declaration is not legally binding it has great importance as a statement and a message to the world.
A total of 143 countries voted for the declaration and 11 countries abstained. Four countries voted against it (USA, Australia, New Zealand and Canada), all being countries with a large number of indigenous people. However, during the ninth session of UNPFII in April 2010, three years after the UN signed the Declaration of Indigenous People, the government of New Zealand reversed its decision and supported the Declaration.
Israel did not participate in the voting since it took place on the eve of the Jewish New Year. See Ehud Ein Gil article in Haaretz, October 2 (in Hebrew).
Please click here for further information on the declaration, its background and related material.
In August 2011, the Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, James Anaya, rejected the State’s position that it did not accept the classification of its Bedouin citizens as an indigenous people. Prof. Anaya stated that, “The Bedouin people share in the characteristics of indigenous peoples worldwide, including a connection to lands and the maintenance of cultural traditions that are distinct from those of majority populations.” Thus, the Bedouin fall within the ambit of the Special Rapporteur’s mandate. The full report can be found here.
International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination
The State of Israel signed the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD) on March 7, 1966 and ratified it on January 3, 1979.
In June 2007, during the 70th session of the Committee for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD), it recommended that the State party inquire into possible alternatives to the relocation of the inhabitants of unrecognized Bedouin villages in the Negev to planned towns, in particular through the recognition of these villages and the recognition of the rights of the Bedouins to own, develop, control and use their communal lands, territories and resources traditionally owned or otherwise inhabited or used by them. Additionally, it recommended that the State party enhance its efforts to consult with the inhabitants of the villages and noted that it should in any case obtain the free and informed consent of affected communities prior to such relocation. The 2007 Concluding Observations of the CERD can be found here.
In March 2012, during its 80th session, the CERD released its concluding observations with regards to Israel. The Committee stated its concerns about the present situation facing Bedouin citizens in the Negev, particularly with the Israeli government’s home demolition policy, and the community’s difficulty in accessing land, housing, employment, education and public health at equal levels to Jewish citizens. To improve this situation, the CERD recommended that Israel “withdraw the 2012 discriminatory proposed Law for the Regulation of the Bedouin Settlement in the Negev [the Prawer-Amidror Plan], which would legalize the ongoing policy of home demolitions and forced displacement of the indigenous Bedouin communities.” (para. 20) The full report can be found here.
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
The State of Israel signed the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) in 1966 and ratified it in 1991.
In paragraph 24 of its Concluding Observations in July 2010 following its third periodic review of the State of Israel, the Human Rights Committee stated as follows:
“[T]he Committee is concerned at allegations of forced evictions of the Bedouin population … and of inadequate consideration of traditional needs of the population in the State party’s planning efforts for the development of the Negev, in particular the fact that agriculture is part of the livelihood and tradition of the Bedouin population. The Committee is further concerned at difficulties of access to health structures, education, water and electricity for the Bedouin population living in towns which the State party has not recognised (arts. 26 and 27).
In its planning efforts in the Negev area, the State party should respect the Bedouin population’s right to their ancestral land and their traditional livelihood based on agriculture. The State party should also guarantee the Bedouin population’s access to health structures, education, water and electricity, irrespective of their whereabouts on the territory of the State party.”
In late April 2012, NCF submitted a report outlining Israel’s violations of the rights of its Bedouin citizens under the United Nations’ International Convenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).
Among other things, the report detailed the state’s failure to ensure adequate Bedouin representation in government office and to hold elections in the Abu Basma Regional Council. The report also outlined Israel’s use of legal mechanisms to legitimize the appropriation of Bedouin land, and its push to implement the destructive Prawer-Amidror Plan, which would forcibly transfer 30,000 Bedouin against their will and cut the community off from its indigenous cultural traditions.
“There was no consultation process with the Bedouin community regarding the formulation of the Prawer-Amidror Plan,” the report states. “Any implementation plan that is forcefully and unilaterally imposed upon this already disadvantaged community will only further undermine the delicate social fabric of the Negev and inflame Arab-Jewish relations.”
On August 31, 2012, the UN Human Rights Committee released a list of 26 questions (the “List of Issues Prior to Reporting”) related to Israel’s implementation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Among other points, the Committee asked Israel to provide information on measures taken to:
- “Recognize and promote the Bedouin population’s right to ancestral land and traditional livelihood. In this regard, please provide detailed information on the situation of the unrecognized Arab- Bedouin villages and indicate measures that have been taken to stop the demolition of houses and indicate whether the State party envisages withdrawing the 2012 proposed Law for the Regulation of the Bedouin Settlement in the Negev;
- Ensure the Bedouin’s and Palestinians’ access to health services, education, adequate housing, water and sanitation.”
To view the Committee’s full list of questions, click here.
International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
The State of Israel signed the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) in 1966 and ratified it in 1991, requiring it to guarantee the right to housing to all of its citizens.
The Concluding Observations of December 2011 following the third period review of Israel are available here.
In paragraph 27, the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights stated as follows:
“The Committee is concerned that the Plan for the Regularization of Bedouin Housing and for the Economic Development of the Bedouin Population in the Negev, based upon the recommendations of the Goldberg Committee and adopted in September 2011, foresees a land planning scheme that will be operated in a short and limited period of time, and includes an enforcement mechanism for the implementation of the planning and construction laws (art.1).
The Committee recommends that the State party ensure that the implementation of the Plan does not result in the forceful eviction of Bedouins. The Committee recommends that any eviction should be based on free, prior and informed consent and that those relocated are offered adequate levels of compensation, in line with the Committee’s General Comment No.7 (1997) on the right to adequate housing: forced evictions.. The Committee also recommends the State party to officially regulate the unrecognized villages, cease the demolition of buildings in those villages, and ensure the enjoyment of the right to adequate housing.”
The Committee continued in paragraph 37 to state as follows:
“The Committee is concerned that the measures adopted by the State party to relocate the Arab-Bedouin villages in new settlements will negatively affect their cultural rights and links with their traditional and ancestral lands.
The Committee recommends that the State party fully respect the rights of the Arab-Bedouin people to their traditional and ancestral lands.”
Universal Declaration of Human Rights
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted by the UN General Assembly on December 10, 1948.