(12 April 2016) Palestinian Human Rights Organizations Submit Alternative Report to Israel’s Fifth Periodic Review by the Committee against Torture

PR/EN/130416/15

The following Palestinian human rights organizations: Addameer, Al-Mezan, Al-Haq, BADIL, Jerusalem Legal Aid and Human Rights Center, and the Palestinian Prisoners’ Club, take this opportunity to submit the alternative report prior to Israel's fifth periodic review by the Committee against Torture (hereinafter ‘the Committee’).

This submission demonstrates Israel’s failure to implement Concluding Observations by the Committee between 2009 and 2016. It also reflects Israel’s persistent non-compliance with its obligations under international law, particularly its obligation to protect Palestinians in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt). The prohibition on the use of torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment is absolute.

According to the Convention Against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT), it is established that “[n]o one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment” and that “[n]o exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat of war, internal political instability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification of torture”.

Despite these unequivocal prohibitions, Israel continues to employ a range of devastating policies against the occupied Palestinian population, including unlawful methods of interrogation, psychological torture, sexual abuse, excessive use of force, collective punishment, and the forcible transfer of Palestinian civilians.

Israel has continuously refused to acknowledge the applicability of the Convention in relation to the oPt in its entirety, consisting of the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. In a legal opinion on the illegality of the Wall in the oPt, the International Court of Justice affirmed that the Israeli Occupying Power has a responsibility to uphold both international human rights law and international humanitarian law inside the oPt.

Israel is a State Party to the CAT yet has not adopted a definition of torture in its legislation and allows for the use of force during interrogations “when necessary”. In violation of its obligations, and as information in this report indicates, the Israeli government and the Israeli Occupying Forces (IOF) encourage and use, respectively, torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment against Palestinians in the oPt extensively and routinely through a wide range of means.

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