On the 75th anniversary of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, 39 human rights institutions and civil society called upon the Secretary-General of the United Nations to give effect to his powers in the event of genocide

Date 2023-12-13

LOCATION ًWest Bank and Gaza

Category West Bank / Gaza / position paper

Dear Secretary-General Antonio Guterres,

Subject: A letter Requesting the UN Secretary-General to Exercise Affiliated Powers in the Case of Genocide

The undersigned human rights and civil society organizations extend their greetings, stressing the importance of your action to invoke Article (99) of the UN Charter, requesting the president of the UN Security Council to immediately put an end to Israeli aggression against the Palestinian people, given that it threatens international security and safety. This significant request comes on the 75th anniversary of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, which was adopted in response to General Assembly resolution 260 A (III) of 9 December 1948, the year in which the Palestinian people were forcibly displaced from their homeland in Al-Nakba, with the intent of eradicating their national identity and usurping their right to self-determination. The convention's anniversary coincides with a new and renewed assault on the Palestinian people, which seeks to wipe out the national and human existence of the Palestinian people in their homeland—an objective that the 1948 Nakba and subsequent continuous aggression were unable to accomplish. It also falls on the anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted by the United Nations on December 10, 1948.

International cooperation is necessary to free humanity from this abhorrent evil, as stated in the preamble of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, in which the United Nations' General Assembly acknowledged that genocide has caused grave human losses throughout history. Accordingly, the contracting parties affirm that genocide is a "crime under international law that they undertake to prevent and punish," as per Article (1). As such, Article (2) defines genocide as “any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such: Killing members of the group; Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.” In addition to the aforementioned atrocities, Palestinians face ethnic cleansing, forced displacement, confiscation of life’s necessities (Water / Food / Electricity / Fuel), demolition of infrastructure and buildings

over their heads, and the slaughter of thousands of innocent civilians, including children, women, and the elderly. All of this was and continues to be committed by the Israeli occupation in Gaza and the West Bank in clear view of the entire world. 

The undersigned organizations wish to draw attention to Article (3) of the Convention, which states that "genocide; conspiracy to commit genocide; direct and public incitement to commit genocide; attempt to commit genocide; and complicity in genocide" are all punishable crimes. Furthermore, pursuant to Article (4), perpetrators of such crimes "whether they are constitutionally responsible rulers, public officials, or private individuals" are subject to punishment and prosecution before an international criminal court such as the ICC.

Thus, in compliance with the convention's Article (8), which states unequivocally that "any Contracting Party may call upon the competent organs of the United Nations to take such action under the Charter of the United Nations as they consider appropriate for the prevention and suppression of acts of genocide or any of the other acts enumerated in article III," we hereby demand that you exercise your authority to direct the relevant United Nations bodies to take the necessary measures to stop and end the Israeli settler-colonial state's ongoing genocide and all other acts outlined in Article (3) of the Convention. This entails using force to compel it to stop the aggression immediately and without delay, and referring those responsible and complicit in it to the ICC, and all other competent international criminal courts.


Your request as UN Secretary-General that UN agencies and the Security Council take the needed and immediate measures to stop the genocide against the Palestinian people is a display of your unwavering commitment to your official duties and the proper implementation of international covenants and agreements, particularly the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.


Given the grave threats to international peace and security posed by the genocide, forced displacement, and ethnic cleansing committed against the Palestinian people, we eagerly await your prompt action, as you see fit, to safeguard international peace and security.


Respectfully yours,








MUSAWA – The Palestinian Center for the Independence of the Judiciary and the Legal Profession

Jerusalem Legal Aid and Human Rights Center (JLAC)

AMAN – Coalition for Accountability and Integrity


Al Marsad – Arab World Democracy and Electoral Monitor

MIFTAH – The Palestinian Initiative for the Promotion of Global Dialogue and Democracy

The Arab Organization for Human Rights

The Engineers Association – Jerusalem Center

Women’s Studies Centre

MADA – The Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms

Bisan Center for Research and Development

Democracy School- Yemen

Sharek Youth Forum

Defense for Children International ­­­­­­­­­­­­– Yemen

Palestinian Nursing & Midwifery Association

ISTIQLAL – The Civil Commission for the Independence of Judiciary and Rule of Law

Women’s Centre for Legal Aid and Counseling

Hurryyat – Center for Defense of Liberties & Civil Rights

The Cultural Forum Center

Human Rights and Democracy Media Centers SHAMS

Make Hope Development and Relief- Yemen

Palestinian Working Woman Society for Development

Bar Association- Jerusalem

MAAN Development Center

Jordanian Social Democratic Party

Bisan Center for Research and Development

Nahda Women Association

Basamat Development Foundation 

Palestinian Youth Association for Leadership & Rights Activation

Angela Brady OBE PPRIBA

ICOMOS Palestine

Childhome organization

Palestine 100 initiative

European Centre for the Study of Extremism, Cambridge

Palestine Land Society- London

Agricultural Engineers Association- Jerusalem

Nablus University for Vocational and Technical Education

Marsad Houriyat- Morocco

Organization for Freedom of Media and Expression - Hatem


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