Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment: initial report submitted by the State of Palestine under article 19 of the Convention, due in 2015 (CAT/C/PSE/1) [EN/AR] – occupied Palestinian territory

  • This report, which is the official initial report of the State of Palestine, has been prepared in accordance with the obligations arising from article 19 of the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Degrading or Inhuman Treatment or Punishment. The State of Palestine acceded to the Convention, without any reservations, on 1 April 2014. It has also acceded to numerous other conventions and treaties relating to human rights and international humanitarian law which also prohibit all forms of torture.

  • During the preparation of this report and other reports to be submitted to the treaty bodies, the Government of the State of Palestine has put in place a sound constitutional, legislative and procedural environment, in accordance with General Comment No. 2002 of the Committee on the establishment of national institutions to facilitate the implementation of the Conventions. On May 7, 2014, the President of the State of Palestine, Mahmoud Abbas, issued a decree on the formation of a permanent national committee at the ministerial level to monitor the adherence of the State of Palestine to these international conventions and treaties. . The committee is chaired by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Migrants and its members are drawn from other relevant ministries and government institutions. The Independent Human Rights Commission acts as an observer to monitor compliance with the obligations arising from adherence to the treaties in question. In addition, a committee was set up in 2017 to harmonize existing legislation with international treaties and conventions. It is chaired by the Ministry of Justice and composed of members of relevant government institutions and civil society organizations. Its mandate is to examine the legislation and the compatibility of its provisions with those of the international conventions to which the State of Palestine has acceded.

  • After acceding to human rights conventions, the State of Palestine adopted a national political program for the period 2017-2022 and announced its commitment to the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. These commitments have been incorporated into the national political agenda out of a sense of duty to the Palestinian people and in order to guarantee their fundamental freedoms and human rights, justice and equality, as well as to provide opportunities and to protect marginalized groups.

  • On December 28, 2017, the State of Palestine signed the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, demonstrating the seriousness of its political will to prevent torture and ensure accountability to this regard. This is one of the most significant steps taken by the State of Palestine since joining the United Nations human rights treaties in 2014. Subsequently, the Palestinian government announced its commitment to establish an independent national mechanism for the prevention of torture, as stipulated by the Optional Protocol. The main mandate of the mechanism will be to visit all places of detention in order to prevent torture and to ensure that the living and health conditions there are adequate, and to coordinate with the Subcommittee for the Prevention of Torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or Punishment. The State of Palestine is currently working with national and international partners, including Palestinian civil society organizations, to establish the mechanism.

  • This report was prepared by a committee of government institutions formed at the request of the national permanent committee and chaired by the Ministry of the Interior. Its members were drawn from the Ministry of Justice, the Office of the Attorney General, the Commission for Detainees’ Affairs, the Ministry of Social Development, the Ministry of Health, the Commission for Military Justice and the Superior Council of the Judiciary.

  • In preparing the report, the committee benefited from information and reports provided by civil society organizations working in related fields. As part of its ongoing cooperation with these organizations, the committee also held two national consultation sessions to present and discuss the report in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The latter had to take place because the participating organizations encountered difficulties in traveling from the Gaza Strip due to the discriminatory measures taken by the Israeli occupation authorities. The committee used the comments of these organizations to enrich and amend the report.

  • The report contains a general overview and a detailed table of national laws and regulations in force in the State of Palestine concerning the implementation of the provisions of the Convention. It also contains data, information and statistics on national efforts to end torture and inhuman and degrading treatment.

  • The legal situation and the reality on the ground in the Gaza Strip are also examined in the report. Since imposing a strict and illegal blockade in 2007, the Israeli occupation authorities have increasingly detached Gaza, which is an integral part of the territory of the State of Palestine, from its natural anchorage. To this day, they continue to subject it to measures that flout international law, repeated attacks and relentless collective punishment. They have divided the Palestinian people demographically, limiting freedom of movement and contact between the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip, in direct, systematic and widespread violation of the human rights of all Palestinians. At the same time, Israel, the occupying power, has targeted the institutions of the State of Palestine and its officials, thereby limiting its ability to discharge its obligations and responsibilities to the people with a sufficiently high degree of professionalism and of efficiency. The violations committed by the occupying forces against the security authorities are presented in an attached table.

  • In mid-2007, the Hamas movement carried out a coup in the Gaza Strip, the most serious consequence of which was to split the Palestinian political system. The Gaza Strip is legally under the authority of the State of Palestine and the actions taken by Hamas since then are unacceptable and illegal in the eyes of the government of the State of Palestine. This has been repeatedly emphasized in statements by the President of the State of Palestine, numerous government officials, faction leaders and civil society leaders.

  • Violations of the Convention by Israel, the occupying power, are also addressed in the report. Since occupying Palestinian territory in 1967, it has systematically violated the human rights of Palestinians on a massive scale. The living conditions of Palestinian detainees held in the prisons of the Israeli occupiers are discussed, with additional data and statistics on the racist policy pursued by the Israeli occupation authorities in the torture and inhuman treatment of these detainees. The information contained in the report concerning the systematic violations by Israel, the occupying power, must be considered in the light of its legal and moral responsibility and its international obligations vis-à-vis the Palestinian people, who have been subjected to its colonial authority. and are afflicted by its repressive and arbitrary practices, and the need for legal accountability. One of its greatest obligations as a party to the Convention is to ensure that those it has subjugated are not tortured. The violations committed by the Israeli occupation authorities even include the refusal to release the bodies of Palestinian martyrs, which amounts to collective punishment and a violation of the Convention. Moreover, Israel, the occupying power, continually puts obstacles in the way of the State of Palestine, thus preventing it from developing its justice and security sector.

  • The State of Palestine wishes to emphasize that the presentation of this report does not exonerate Israel, the occupying power, from its legal responsibility under international law, in particular international humanitarian law and human rights law. This includes its obligation to enforce the provisions of the Convention and to report on its compliance with those provisions in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem. This obligation is mentioned in the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice, delivered in 2004, on the legal consequences of the construction of a wall in the occupied Palestinian territory.

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