Ref: 41/2013 

For the 22nd Session of the Human Rights Council,
taking place in Geneva from 25 February to 22 March 2013, the Palestinian
Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) submitted a written statement, titled “The
Torture and Ill Treatment of Palestinian Prisoners by the Israeli Occupying
Power”. Additionally, PCHR, together with the International Association of
Democratic Lawyers (IADL), the Europe – Third World Centre (CETIM), and the
American Association of Jurists (AAJ) issued two joint oral statements, which
were presented to the Council by representatives of IADL. These oral statements
related to Israel’s refusal to submit its Universal Periodic Review, and the
report of the UN mandated International Fact-Finding Mission investigating the
impact of the Israeli settlements on the human rights of the Palestinian people
throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem.

 

Additionally,
on 4 and 5 March 2013, a delegation
organized by PCHR participated in the sessions of the Human Rights Council,
during which the reports of the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture and Special
Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders were considered. On 6 March 2013, in
cooperation with the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), PCHR
organized a side event that took place alongside the session of the Human
Rights Council. The delegation presented testimonies and personal statements
based on their experiences, giving concrete examples of the suffering of the
Palestinian people. The event concluded with a lively Q&A session.

 

In its written statement, PCHR outlines the
prevalence of torture and ill treatment of Palestinian detainees in Israeli
jails and detention centres, both inside Israel and in the occupied Palestinian
territory (oPt). It provides the Human Rights Council with information
regarding Israel’s continued violation of its obligations under international
human rights and humanitarian law, in particular the Convention Against Torture
and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment – to which Israel
is a State party.

 

During 2012, PCHR received increasing numbers of
complaints of torture and ill treatment in detention, including of minors.
Furthermore, the Israeli authorities continue to deprive Palestinian prisoners
and detainees of family visits and other basic rights, such as access to
medical services, education, adequate nutritious food, suitable clothing, and
means for maintaining personal hygiene. Incommunicado detention also continues
to be applied by Israel, denying Palestinians their rights to legal counsel and
family visits. This incommunicado detention puts detainees at a higher risk of torture
and other forms of ill treatment. The use of administrative detention also
remains an issue of critical concern, as it is applied in violation of Article
16 of the Convention Against Torture. Finally, Israel’s transfer of Palestinian
detainees and prisoners to detention facilities and prisons inside Israel constitutes
a violation of Articles 49 and 76 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which
prohibits the (forcible) transfer of detainees and prisoners outside of the occupied
territory.

 

In
its statements, PCHR calls upon the UN Human Rights Council, the UN General
Assembly, and the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention to
take steps to ensure and protect the basic rights of Palestinian detainees and
prisoners held by Israel.

 

 

Submission
documents:

 

Written
Statement:

“The
Torture and Ill Treatment of Palestinian Prisoners by the Israeli Occupying
Power”
.

 

Joint
Oral Statements:

“Item
6: Universal Periodic Review. General Debate”, regarding Israel’s refusal to
submit review;

“Item
7: Interactive Dialogue with the FFM”, on the Findings of the Fact Finding
Mission on Settlements.

 

For
the 22nd Session of the Human Rights Council, and as part of its
ongoing efforts to advocate for the rights of Palestinian prisoners held in the
Israeli prisons, the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) organized an
international speaking tour for a delegation from Gaza, which included two
mothers of prisoners in Israeli prisons and two former prisoners who were imprisoned
for years in Israeli jails. The delegation was led by Jaber Wishah, PCHR’s
Deputy Director for Branches Affairs.

 

On
4 and 5 March 2013, the delegation participated in the sessions of the Human
Rights Council, during which the reports of the UN Special Rapporteur on
Torture and Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders were considered. On 6
March 2013, in cooperation with the International Federation for Human Rights
(FIDH), PCHR organized a side event that took place alongside the session of
the Human Rights Council. The delegation presented personal testimonies based
on their experiences, giving concrete examples of the suffering of the
Palestinian people. The event concluded with a Q&A session.

 

In
addition to activities with the different UN bodies in Geneva, the delegation
had a number of meetings in Egypt, Switzerland and France.

 

During
meetings in Egypt the delegation shared their personal testimonies,
discussed the situation of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails in light of
continued Israeli violations against them, recent developments, and the case of
‘Arafat Jaradat, 30, who died in Israeli detention, according to initial
investigations as a result of torture. They met with, amongst others: Mr. Sayed
Abdel Ghani, the Assistant Secretary-General of the Arab Bar Association; Mr.
Islam Abu al-‘Aenein, the Director of Programs of the Arab Organization for
Human Rights; Mr. Abdullan al-Asha’al, from the National Council for Human
Rights; and Mr. Mohammed Sobeih, the Assistant Secretary General of the League
of Arab States.

 

During
their stay in Geneva, the delegates had numerous
meetings, including with: Counsellor Mahmoud Afifi, representative of the
Egyptian Mission to the European Office of the United Nations; Mary Lawlor,
Director of Front Line Defenders; Edris al-Yazmi, President of the National
Human Rights Council in Morocco; Mada Andinas, a member of the UN Working Group
on Arbitrary Detention; Mohammed al-Khamlishi, Assistant Secretary-General of
the League of Arab States; Kevin Turner, Human Rights Officer for Middle East
and North Africa; the Pakistani Counsellor Mariam Aftab; J. Melih, Officer of
the Middle East Sector and Central Follow-up and Protection in the
International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC); Celine Matter, Deputy Head of
Operations for the Near and Middle East; Seyit Yoaniqe, Human Rights Officer
for the Permanent Mission of Turkey to the UN in Geneva; Ambassador Suleiman
Sheikh, the Permanent Observer of the OIC to the UN in Geneva and Vienna;
Member of the Swiss Parliament, Carlo Somarruga; and a number of solidarity
groups and committees. Finally, in Bern the delegation attended the annual
meeting of the World Council of Churches.

 

Subsequently,
during their visit to France, the delegation participated in a
number
of activities and meetings
with French solidarity
associations and their representatives, and they met with Claude Lefort,
President of France-Palestine Solidarity Association, Flofia Kojini, Director
of Relations and International Cooperation in the Municipality of Nantes, and
Hayel al-Fahoum, the Palestinian Ambassador in Paris.

 

The
delegation concluded its international tour and traveled back to Gaza on 15
March 2013. PCHR organized this international tour for the delegation of
families of the Palestinian prisoners as a part of its ongoing efforts to
support Palestinian prisoners, to internationalize their cause, and mobilize
public support.