The South African government has described Israel as the only apartheid state in the world, in remarks made at a session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva.
Speaking during Israel's Universal Periodic Review, a process by which every UN member has its human rights record assessed every five years, South Africa's representative said that Israel is the "only state in the world that can be described as an apartheid state".
The comments were quoted in a tweet by John Fisher, Geneva director of Human Rights Watch.
#SouthAfrica at #UPR29: "#Israel is the only State in the world that can be described as an apartheid State". Israel calls point of order, saying focus should be on human rights, not politics, fails to address SA's rec that Israel respect Palestinian's rt to self-determination
— John Fisher (@JohnFisher_hrw) January 23, 2018
Speaking ahead of the meeting, Fisher's colleague at Human Rights Watch, Omar Shakir, said that the global rights NGO had conducted its own review of Israel's record, finding that Israel has "carried out war crimes", as well as "institutional discrimination against Palestinians".
Today in Geneva, UN conducts review of Israel's rights record over last 5 yrs. @hrw did its own review, finding Israel carried out war crimes & that rights abuse & institutional discrimination against Palestinians systematic #UPR29 https://t.co/KFbidIJfVx
— Omar Shakir (@OmarSShakir) January 23, 2018
Other member states, including Germany, highlighted and criticised Israel's policies of "collective punishment" in the occupied Palestinian territory, such as house demolitions.
#Germany concerned by human rights situation in OPT; recommends #Israel to end practices of collective punishment, including demolitions and residency revocations, and to halt administrative detention #UPR29
— Al-Haq الحق (@alhaq_org) January 23, 2018