Members of the Human Rights Committee
Submission to the March-April 2001 Session
Dear Chairperson and Expert Members
The Human Rights Committee, in its concluding observations to Israel in July 1998, was “deeply concerned that Israel continue[d] to deny its responsibility to fully apply the Covenant in the occupied territories”. The Committee specifically addressed the use of force, the level of supervision that Israel applies to its security forces, and the inadequate means for Palestinians to secure the rights guaranteed under the Covenant. The Committee also expressed concern over the practice of administrative detention, ill-treatment, restriction of free movement and home demolitions. The Committee also regretted “the considerable delay in the submission of the report, which was received five years after the date on which it was due.”
The Committee will be aware of the significant deterioration in the civil and political situation in the occupied Palestinian territory since September 2000. In what has come to be known as the Al-Aqsa or Second Intifada over 300 people have been killed and thousands injured, the majority of these have been Palestinian. A number of have been children under 18 years of age and almost without exception they posed no serious threat to the lives of Israeli soldiers or civilians that could have warranted the use of potentially lethal force by Israeli forces.
The Committee asked Israel to provide a full account of the application of the Covenant in its second periodic report. This report is now due.
PCHR is requesting that the Committee appoint a scheduled date for an early hearing of Israel’s second periodic report in advance of its receipt.
This request is based on the emergency situation that has developed in the occupied Palestinian territory, which is not abating. The violence has had serious repercussions on the rights guaranteed in the Covenant and is the subject of international concern. Meeting such a request would also ensure the integrity of the Covenant, which has been consistently ignored in the occupied Palestinian territory and in respect to which Israel has belatedly and insufficiently reported.
This practice of setting a date for a hearing in advance of the state’s report has been confirmed by the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. Israel had not reported as required on the application of the Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in the occupied Palestinian territory. That Committee has set aside half a day on 6 May 2001 to hear Israel report on the application of the Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. In a note verbale to Israel, on 1 December 2000, the Committee stated: “In light of all the circumstances, its Concluding Observations and the current crisis in Israel and the occupied territories, the Committee resolved at its twenty-fourth session to consider at its next session the situation in the OPT, with a view to assisting the State party conform to its obligations under the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.”
PCHR would like to take this opportunity to thank the Committee for its consideration of this matter.