Human rights groups urge African Union to withdraw Israel’s observer status

2021-10-09 18:46:15
Human rights groups urge African Union to withdraw Israel’s observer status

At least three human rights organizations have called on the African Union (AU) to withdraw the Israeli regime’s observer status over its human rights violations and crimes against humanity.

The US-based Democracy for Arab World Now (DAWN) together with the Legal Resource Center (LRC) in South Africa on Monday signed and supported a legal submission to the executive council of the AU, which was drafted by the International Center of Justice for Palestinians (ICJP).

The submission vehemently argues why the 55-member union should not have granted the regime in Tel Aviv an observer status, and why it should be immediately revoked.

On July 22, Israel announced that it had joined the influential pan-African body, which debates continental issues, as an “observer state,” after unsuccessful lobbying for nearly 20 years.

The news elicited lukewarm response from some member countries of the union, who had for years blocked the move, citing the regime’s horrendous war crimes in Palestine.

For almost two decades, since the disbandment of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) in 2002, Israel had made futile attempts to join the African Union, which replaced the OAU.

However, the move was always thwarted by members of the union, who even called for an end to the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories in February.

In a statement endorsed by more than a dozen organizations, the three advocacy groups asserted that the apartheid Israeli regime is involved in gross violations of human rights and crimes against humanity that directly contravene the principles and purpose of the AU.

The word apartheid is often associated with South Africa. Apartheid was a system of institutionalized racial segregation that existed in South Africa from 1948 until the early 1990s.

The system was characterized by an authoritarian political culture based on white supremacy, which ensured that South Africa was dominated politically, socially, and economically by the nation's minority white population.

The Ethiopia-based AU is a continental bloc that represents all 55 member states, most of whom suffered terribly at the hands of repressive colonialists.

For decades, African countries have supported the Palestinians' struggle against Israeli occupation and oppresion, seeing in it parallels with their own anti-colonial movements.

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