In its 112th session, the United Nations’ Human Rights Committee adopted its concluding observations on the fourth periodic report of Israel on 28 October 2014. Among variety of other issues addressed by the Committee relating to disenfranchised groups in Israel, concluding observations directly referred to problems encountered by the Arab Bedouin community in the Negev-Naqab. The Committee expressed its concerns at Israeli policies of house demolitions and forced evictions, the Prawer Plan, and the harsh living conditions in the Bedouin recognized and unrecognized villages in the Negev-Naqab.
The Committee recommended that Israel should cease house demolitions, withdraw the Prawer Plan, and ensure participation of Bedouin communities in any planning regarding relocation of villages. Furthermore, the Committee recommended that the state of Israel should “ensure that any proposed plans for their [Bedouin] relocation take due account of their traditional way of life and, where applicable, their right to ancestral land and is carried out in accordance with relevant international human rights standards”.
As part of the HRC review process of the state of Israel, the Negev Coexistence Forum (NCF) was invited to submit a list of issues and a joint report with Adalah. The report emphasized the ongoing violation of rights of Bedouin communities in the Negev-Naqab, including house demolitions and forced evictions, lack of access to services and infrastructure in recognized and unrecognized Bedouin villages, and governmental plans for settlement regulation.
Khalil Alamour, NCF board member and representative, participated in this meeting that took place in Geneva.
Khalil Alamour, NCF’s board member, said: “We are very excited and satisfied with the Human Rights Committee concluding observations. The Arab Bedouin community in the Negev suffers harsh violations of human rights by our government, and it is encouraging to find that the Committee directly addressed these violations. We hope that the government will accept and implement the committee’s recommendations, stop the house demolition policy and grant its Bedouin citizens all the rights they deserve”.