COMPILATION PREPARED BY THE OFFICE OF THE HIGH COMMISSIONER

FOR HUMAN RIGHTS, IN ACCORDANCE WITH PARAGRAPH 15(B)

OF THE ANNEX TO HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL RESOLUTION 5/1

 

 

Israel

 

 

 

  This report is a compilation of the information contained in the reports of treaty bodies, special procedures, including observations and comments by the State concerned, and other relevant official United Nations documents. It does not contain any opinions, views or suggestions on the part of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), other than those contained in public reports issued by OHCHR. It follows the structure of the general guidelines adopted by the Human Rights Council. Information included herein has been systematically referenced in endnotes. The periodicity of the review for the first cycle being four years, most documents are dated after 1 January 2004. In the absence of recent information, the latest available reports and documents have been taken into consideration, unless they are outdated. Since this report only compiles information contained in official United Nations documents, lack of information or focus on specific issues may be due to non-ratification of a treaty and/or to a low level of interaction or cooperation with international human rights mechanisms .

  


I. BACKGROUND AND FRAMEWORK

A. Scope of international obligations1 

Core universal human rights treaties 2

Date of ratification, accession or succession

Declarations
/reservations

Recognition of specific competences of treaty bodies

ICERD

3 January 1979

Yes (art.22)

Individual complaints (art. 14): No

ICESCR

3 October 1991

None

ICCPR

3 October 1991

Yes (art.23)

Inter-State complaints (art. 41): No

CEDAW

3 October 1991

Yes (art. 7b, 16, 29 para. 1)

CAT

3 October 1991

Yes (art.28, 30 para 1)

Inter-State complaints (art. 21): No
Individual complaints (art. 22): No
Inquiry procedure (art. 20): No
 

CRC

3 October 1991

None

OP-CRC-AC

18 July 2005

Yes (art.3 para.2)

OP-CRC-SC

23 July 2008

None

 

Core treaties to which Israel is not a party: ICCPR-OP1, ICCPR-OP2, OP-CEDAW, OP-CAT, ICRMW, CPD (signature only, 2007), CPD-OP and CED.

  

Other main relevant international instruments

Ratification, accession or succession

Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide

Yes

Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court

No

Palermo Protocol 3  

No

Refugees and stateless persons 4

Yes, except 1961 Convention

Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949 and Additional Protocols thereto 5

Yes, except Protocols I & II

ILO fundamental conventions 6

Yes

UNESCO Convention against Discrimination in Education

Yes

1. All Committees expressed concern about the State’s position that the respective treaties do not apply beyond its own territory, notably in the West Bank and in Gaza. The Committees reaffirmed their view that the State’s obligations under each treaty apply to all territories and populations under its effective control. 7 

2. In 2008, the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967 stated that the right to self-determination of the Palestinian people has been recognized by the Security Council, the General Assembly, the International Court of Justice and Israel itself. The territory of the self-determination unit within which this right is to be exercised includes the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza. 8 

3. Following a request by the General Assembly, 9 the International Court of Justice (ICJ) issued an advisory opinion in which it noted that Israel has the obligation to cease forthwith the works of construction of the wall being built in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including in and around East Jerusalem. 10 In view of the Court’s finding that Israel’s violations of its international obligations stem from the construction of the wall and from its associated regime, cessation of those violations entails the dismantling forthwith of those parts of that structure situated within the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including in and around East Jerusalem. 11 

B. Constitutional and legislative framework

4. The Human Rights Committee in 2003 and the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) in 2005 noted with appreciation the law reform aimed at the promotion of gender equality and the elimination of discrimination against women. 12 

5. In 2007, the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) remained concerned that no general provision for equality and prohibition of racial discrimination had been included in the Basic Law: Human Dignity and Liberty (1992). 13 

6. CEDAW, the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR) and the Committee Against Torture (CAT) expressed concern about the lack of incorporation of the Conventions into national legislation. 14 In 2003, CESCR noted with appreciation that the judiciary system provided opportunities for the justiciability of the Covenant rights. 15 

C. Institutional and human rights infrastructure

7. CERD and the Committee on Rights of the Child (CRC) recommended the establishment of a national human rights institution, in accordance with the Paris Principles, to monitor the implementation of the Conventions. 16 

8. While welcoming the establishment of the Authority for the Advancement of Women in 1998, CEDAW noted with concern that this institution may not have sufficient power and resources and called on the State to strengthen it. 17 

II. PROMOTION AND PROTECTION OF HUMAN RIGHTS ON THE GROUND

A. Cooperation with human rights mechanisms

9. The Human Rights Council held three special sessions on the human rights situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory in July and November 2006, and in January 2008, 18 and one special session on the human rights situation in Lebanon caused by Israeli military operations in August 2006. 19 

1. Cooperation with treaty bodies

Treaty body 20 

Latest report considered/submitted

Latest concluding observations 

Follow-up response

Reporting status

CERD

2005

March 2007

July 2008

Combined fourteenth, fifteenth and sixteenth report due in 2010

CESCR

2001

May 2003

– 

Third report due since June 2008

HR Committee

2008 (submitted)

August 2003

January 2007

Third report not yet scheduled for consideration

CEDAW

2005

July 2005

– 

Fourth report to be considered in 2009

CAT

2006 (submitted)

November 2001

Fourth report to be considered in 2009

CRC

2001

October 2002

– 

Combined second, third and fourth reports due on 1 November 2008

OP-CRC- AC

2008
(submitted)

– 

Initial report not yet scheduled for consideration

2. Cooperation with special procedures

Standing invitation issued 

No

Latest visits or mission reports

Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences, (visit to the Occupied Palestinian Territory only, 13-18 June 2004); 21 Special Representative of the Secretary-General on the situation of human rights defenders (5-11 Oct. 2005); 22 the Special Rapporteurs on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions; on adequate housing as a component of the right to an adequate standard of living, and on the right to non-discrimination in this context; on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health; and the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on human rights of internally displaced persons (10-14 Sept. 2006, joint mission); 23 Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism (3-10 July 2007); 24 Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict (13-20 April 2007); 25 Special Rapporteur on the situation of Human Rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967, (six visits to the Occupied Palestinian Territory, last one 25 Sept.-1 Oct 2007); 26 Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief (20-27 Jan. 2008). 27 

Visits agreed upon in principle 

None

Visits requested and not yet agreed upon

The Special Rapporteurs on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, requested in 2002, follow-up request in 2007; on violence against women, its causes and consequences, requested in 2001; on adequate housing, requested in 2005.

Facilitation/cooperation during missions

The Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief thanked the Government for inviting her to Israel; 28 The four mandate holders who undertook the joint mission in September 2006 expressed their appreciation for the full cooperation of the relevant authorities and for the open and constructive manner in which discussions took place. 29  

Follow-up to visits  

 

Responses to letters of allegations and urgent appeals

A total of 66 communications were sent between 1 July 2004 and 30 June 2008. In addition to communications sent for particular groups, 96 individuals, including 15 women, were covered by these communications. Between 1 July 2004 and 30 June 2008, the Government replied to 28 communications, or 42 per cent of communications sent.

Responses to questionnaires on thematic issues 30 

Israel responded to four of the 12 questionnaires sent by special procedures mandate holders 31 between 1 July 2004 and 30 June 2008, within the deadlines. 32 

10. The Special Rapporteur on human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967 stated that although the Government placed no obstacles in the way of his visit in December 2006, and on occasion facilitated it to allow him free passage at crossings and checkpoints, the Government, as in the past, refused to meet with him, as it did not recognize the Special Rapporteur’s mandate. 33 

3. Cooperation with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights

11. In 2006, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights visited Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory. 34 Israel made contributions to OHCHR in 2005, 2006 and 2007. 35 

B. Implementation of international human rights obligations, taking into account applicable international humanitarian law 

1. Equality and non-discrimination

12. In 2007, CERD recommended ensuring that the definition of Israel as a Jewish nation State does not result in any systemic distinction, exclusion, restriction or preference based on race, colour, descent, or national or ethnic origin. 36 It also recommended assessing the extent to which the maintenance of separate Arab and Jewish “sectors” may amount to racial segregation. 37 CERD also noted with concern the application in the Occupied Palestinian Territory of different laws, policies and practices applied to the Israelis on the one hand and to the Palestinians on the other hand. 38 

13. CRC in 2002 and CAT in 2001 expressed concern about the difference in the definition of a child in Israel (persons under 18) and in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (persons under 16) according to Israeli legislation. 39 

14. In 2005, the Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination and xenophobia and related intolerance noted that since 2001, the Government Press Office had refused to issue press cards and renew press accreditation to Palestinian journalists, which a 2004 High Court of Justice ruling found illegal. 40 

15. In 2003, the HR Committee welcomed the enactment of the Equal Rights for People with Disabilities Law (1998) 41 and CESCR urged the State to undertake effective measures to combat discrimination against persons with disabilities, with particular attention to persons with disabilities from the Arab sector. 42 

2. Right to life, liberty and security of the person

16. In 2003, the HR Committee was concerned by what Israel calls “targeted killings” of suspected terrorists in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, which would appear to be used at least in part as a punishment, thus raising issues under article 6 of the Covenant. 43 

17. On 15 November 2006, the Human Rights Council convened its third special session and adopted resolution S-3/1 in which it called, inter alia, for the establishment of a high-level fact-finding mission to be dispatched to Beit Hanoun, which took place in May 2008. 44 The Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian Territories occupied since 1967 raised the issue of targeted killings and civilian toll during Israeli Defense Force (IDF) military activity, specifically in Gaza. 45 In November 2006, the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions expressed concern about the killings of civilians in the Gaza strip and Israel. 46 He also sent a communication on alleged targeted killings of suspected terrorists by the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) in the West Bank in November 2005. 47 Attacks by the military also included the alleged killing of 10 Palestinians, 6 minors and four adults in May 2004. 48 

18. Communications sent by the Special Rapporteur on the question of torture related to alleged ill-treatment, incommunicado detention, threats, detention in solitary confinement and intensive interrogation of Arab prisoners, 49 some of whom were underage. 50 Other cases also related to detention in unknown detention centres of individuals in Ramallah, 51 including of one underage boy. 52 In a case on which a communication was sent by the Special Rapporteur in 2006, it was alleged that a woman who had been arrested while she was pregnant was seriously ill-treated and sexually harassed. 53 The HR Committee in 2003 and CAT in 2001 noted with concern reports that interrogation techniques incompatible with the Covenant/Convention were frequent. 54 

19. In his report to the General Assembly, the Secretary-General stated that documenting the recruitment of children by Palestinian armed groups remains a challenge, and the extent of the phenomenon is not well known. Reports also suggest that Shin Bet continues to recruit Palestinian children to be used as collaborators inside prisons or upon their release. 55 CRC urged Israel and all relevant non-State actors to ensure that children are not recruited and do not participate in the conflict. 56 

20. In 2006, the Special Rapporteur on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography and the Special Rapporteur on the human rights aspects of the victims of trafficking in persons, especially women and children sent a communication to the Government regarding a child, who had allegedly been trafficked to Israel and who had been detained for six months. 57 

3. Administration of justice, including impunity

21. In 2007, CERD expressed concern about the adoption of a restrained policy in relation to prosecution against public figures for hate speech against the Arab minority. 58 In 2003, the HR Committee called on the State to investigate public pronouncements by Israeli personalities in relation to Arabs, which may constitute advocacy of racial and religious hatred. 59 CERD was concerned about information according to which complaints filed by Arab Israeli citizens against law enforcement officers were not properly investigated. 60 It also recommended increasing efforts to protect Palestinians against violence perpetrated by Jewish settlers, to ensure that such incidents are investigated, and that avenues for redress are offered to victims. 61 

22. The Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict observed that the current policy of the Israeli authorities did not meet international standards for juvenile justice. 62 

23. At the end of her visit to Israel, the High Commissioner for Human Rights stated, inter alia, that an effective system of accountability, including personal accountability, will lead to a change in approach in the use of force, ensuring compliance with international law and appropriate punitive or remedial action. 63 

24. The Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions sent a letter to the Government regarding concerns of impunity following the decision of the Ministry of Justice to close all investigations into the case of the killing of 13 men in October 2000. 64 The Government responded that, following several requests for re-examination, the relevant authorities had concluded that it would be advisable to initiate an appeal process to reconsider the decision to close the file. 65 

25. Following their joint mission in 2006, the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, the Special Rapporteur on the right to health, the Representative of the Secretary-General on human rights of internally displaced persons and the Special Rapporteur on adequate housing noted that serious violations of both human rights and humanitarian law had been committed in the Israeli-Lebanese war in Summer 2006. 66 In its report, the Commission of Inquiry on Lebanon established by Council resolution S-2/1 considered that the excessive and indiscriminate use of force by IDF went beyond reasonable arguments of military necessity, and clearly failed to distinguish between civilian and military targets, thus constituting a flagrant violation of international humanitarian law. 67 

26. The Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, the Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, especially women and children, the Special Rapporteur on violence against women, and the Special Rapporteur on the sale of children, wrote to the Government in 2005 regarding allegations that female victims of trafficking felt pressured to testify in court because certain benefits, including shelter and health services, were being tied to their giving testimony. 68 

4. Right to privacy, marriage and family life

27. CERD, CEDAW and the HR Committee noted with concern that the Nationality and Entry into Israel Law of 31 July 2003 had a disproportionate impact on Arab Israeli citizens wishing to be reunited with their families in Israel. 69 CERD and the HR Committee recommended that Israel revoke the Order and reconsider its policy on family reunification. 70 

28. In 2005, CEDAW expressed concern about the State’s assertion that it is not in a position to implement the law prohibiting polygamy and enforce the minimum age of marriage. 71 

5. Freedom of movement

29. CERD, the HR Committee, the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967, the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People and Other Arabs of the Occupied Territories, the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism and the High Commissioner for Human Rights expressed concern about restrictions on the freedom of movement in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, having a highly detrimental impact on the enjoyment of human rights by Palestinians. 72 In its 2006 report, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) stated that illegal Israeli settlements continue to expand and encroach on Palestinian land, 73 and noted an increasingly restrictive permit system. 74 

30. While noting that the Supreme Court had recommended that the course of the wall be changed, CERD was concerned that Israel had chosen to disregard the 2004 advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on the legal consequences of the construction of the wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. 75 A 2007 report by the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) noted that despite the advisory opinion of the ICJ, the construction of the wall has continued, cutting entire communities off from their relatives, work and essential services. 76 

31. Two communications sent in 2007 by the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression and the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on the situation of human rights defenders concerned allegations that two leaders of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) had been prevented from leaving the country. 77 In a joint communication sent in 2005, it was alleged that the director of an NGO was prevented from crossing the border, on his way to provide testimony before the United Nations Special Committee to investigate Israeli Practices. 78 In its response, the Government indicated that since the end of the military rule in the Gaza strip, his movements were no longer under Israeli control. 79 

6. Freedom of religion or belief, expression, association and peaceful assembly, and right to participate in public and political life

32. Communications sent by the Special Rapporteur on the right to freedom of opinion and expression related to foreign journalists or journalists working for foreign media arrested and detained 80 even without charges, 81 killed in the bombing of media installations, injured 82 or shot by the IDF in the Gaza strip. 83 Where the Government responded, it noted where investigations had been undertaken and/or completed. 84 Two communications sent in 2005 by the Special Rapporteur concerned reports on the prohibition of holding demonstrations against the construction of the wall, including arrest and detention of the demonstrators. 85 

33. In 2008, the High Commissioner for Human Rights, in her report to the Human Rights Council, stated that the measures adopted by Israel to restrict freedom of movement of both people and goods in the Occupied Palestinian Territory severely impeded the population’s access to religious sites, notably in Jerusalem, cultural exchanges and events. 86 

34. Following her visit in 2008, the Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief stated that restrictions to access to holy places were disproportionate as well as discriminatory and arbitrary in their implementation. While highlighting the role played by the Supreme Court in safeguarding freedom of religion or belief, she noted that strands within the Christian, Jewish and Muslim faiths had experienced different forms of discrimination. She recommended that all parties to a possible peace agreement bind themselves legally to protect the rights of religious minorities. 87 

35. Following her visit in 2005, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on the situation of human rights defenders noted that the Government does respect the rights of Israeli human rights defenders. 88 She highlighted, however, that they faced difficulties in promoting and protecting the rights of minorities, including the Arab and Palestinian communities. 89 Moreover, defenders in Gaza were becoming more vulnerable because of their isolation, imposed by continuing restrictions that obstruct their movement and communication, 90 and “security imperatives” had been allowed to justify continuation of gross violations of human rights and humanitarian law. 91 

36. In 2007, CERD recommended ensuring that laws and programmes be equally devoted to the promotion of cultural institutions and the protection of holy sites of both Jewish and other religious communities. 92 

37. CERD welcomed affirmative action programmes to ensure better representation of minority groups in the civil service and within State corporations. 93 CEDAW remained concerned about the low level of representation of women in decision-making positions in the civil service, 94 as also noted by the International Labour Organization Committee of Experts on the Application of Conventions and Recommendations in 2006. 95 

38. While noting the judgement of the Supreme Court of 30 December 2002 in the case of eight IDF reservists, the HR Committee remained concerned about the law, criteria applied, and generally adverse determinations in practice by military judicial officers in individual cases of conscientious objection. 96 

7. Right to work and to just and favourable conditions of work   

39. In 2003, CESCR recommended that Israel take measures to reduce the inequalities in wages between Jews and Arabs; 97 the unemployment rate and to ensure that workers in the Occupied Palestinian Territory are permitted to continue to work in Israel. 98 A 2008 ILO report noted that freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining remain under constant threat in the Occupied Arab Territories, 99 that discrimination in access to employment and productive resources is pervasive, and that institutions representing employers and workers are facing interference in their right to organize. 100 

8. Right to social security and to an adequate standard of living 

40. CERD urged Israel to assure equality in the right to return to one’s country and in the possession of property. 101 While noting with appreciation the affirmative action measures taken with respect to the Arab, Druze, Circassian and Bedouin communities, 102 CESCR continued to be gravely concerned about the deplorable living conditions of the Palestinians in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, 103 and about the continuing practices of home demolitions, land confiscations and restrictions on residency rights. 104 

41. In 2005, the Special Rapporteur on the adverse effects of the illicit movement and dumping of toxic and dangerous products and wastes on the enjoyment of human rights, the Special Rapporteur on the right to food, the Special Rapporteur on adequate housing and the Special Rapporteur on the right to health sent a communication relating to the alleged poisoning of Palestinian fields in the West Bank by Israeli settlers. 105 

42. A 2008 ILO report mentioned that approximately half of all Palestinian households are dependent on food assistance provided by the international community. 106 A 2007 OCHA report noted that about 57 per cent of all Palestinian households are living in poverty. 107 In their latest reports to the Human Rights Council, both the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967 highlighted the consequences of the closure of Gaza, constituting according to the latter, collective punishment. 108 The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) referred to the 2004 ICJ Advisory Opinion and its findings that the construction of the wall and its associated regime had resulted, among other, in the destruction of agricultural land, and means of subsistence, which constituted a breach of Israel’s obligations under ICESCR. 109 A 2006 United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) report noted that people living in the Occupied Palestinian Territory face acute water scarcity and the unequal sharing between Israel and Palestine of the aquifers below the West Bank. 110 In the same year the Special Rapporteur on the right to food sent a communication relating to a looming humanitarian in the Gaza Strip as a result of the closure of the Karni/al Muntar crossing. 111 

43. The Special Rapporteur on the right to health sent a communication in 2007 relating to the alleged inability of patients to have access to medical treatment abroad, after Israel closed the Rafah crossing. 112 CEDAW called upon the State to ensure that Israeli authorities at checkpoints are instructed to ensure access to health-care services for pregnant women. 113 A 2005 UNFPA report mentioned that delays at checkpoints have resulted in unattended roadside births and deaths of some women and infants. 114 

9. Right to education and to participate in the cultural life of the community

44. In 2005, CEDAW called on Israel to take urgent measures to reduce the drop-out rates of Israeli Arab girls and increase the number of Arab women at institutions of higher education. 115 A 2008 UNICEF report noted that in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, restrictions on access and movements challenge students’ and teachers’ ability to reach schools. 116 CESCR encouraged Israel to continue to provide human rights education in schools and to develop a system of mixed schools for Jewish and Arab pupils. 117 CERD welcomed efforts made by the State to improve the status of the Arabic language. 118 

10. Minorities and indigenous peoples

45. In 2006, the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights and fundamental freedoms of indigenous peoples and the Special Rapporteur on adequate housing sent a communication relating to the alleged intention of the Government to destroy Al-Sira, an indigenous Bedouin village in the Negev. 119 In its response, the Government provided information about the law and the expropriation process. 120 In 2007, t he independent expert on minority issues, the Special Rapporteur on adequate housing and the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights and fundamental freedoms of indigenous peoples sent a communication relating to the situation of Bedouin communities in territories under Israeli occupation, who had been internally displaced and had their houses demolished. 121 CERD recommended that Israel enquire into possible alternatives to the relocation of inhabitants of Bedouin villages in the Negev/Naqab to planned towns. 122 

11. Migrants, refugees and asylum-seekers

46. The Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants wrote to the Government regarding the alleged ill-treatment suffered by two construction workers. 123 In its reply, the Government provided clarification on the facts and on the investigation undertaken. 124 In other communications, the Special Rapporteur wrote about two migrant workers who were reportedly detained after leaving their jobs, 125 and about alleged abuses and illegal acts committed by recruitment agencies. 126 

47. A 2007 document by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reflected that Israel ratified the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees in 1954 and acceded to its 1967 Protocol in 1968. 127 A 2007 UNHCR report mentioned that Israel is yet to develop a functioning procedure for refugee status determination. 128 A 2006 UNHCR report noted the absence of national refugee legislation, and that UNHCR supports the Government with the registration and status determination of asylum-seekers. 129 

12. Human rights and counter-terrorism

48. The HR Committee expressed concern about the vagueness of definitions in Israeli counter-terrorism legislation and regulations and the use of several evidentiary presumptions to the detriment of the defendant. 130 

49. Following his visit in 2007, the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism raised several areas of concern: the alleged continued use of certain interrogation techniques; the ability of the complaints inspector, as an employee of the Israeli Security Agency, to investigate allegations of ill-treatment or torture ; 131 the length of detention with no access to the outside world, including “administrative detention” used in the West Bank; 132 and the use of military courts to try terrorist and security suspects in the West Bank. 133 

50. The Special Rapporteur noted that the IDF security screening and search procedures at checkpoints raised concerns about privacy and non-discrimination, particularly heightened in the case of women and children. 134 Specific problematic areas were allegations of the use of “human shields”, demolition of houses, targeted killings and killings of civilians. 135 

51. One communication sent by the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism and the Special Rapporteur on the right to freedom of opinion and expression related to the alleged arrest and detention of the Speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council, as well as the alleged arrest of eight members of the Palestinian authority’s Government and 20 or more members of the Palestinian Legislative Council. 136 

52. The Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers expressed his concern about legislation allowing the authorities to detain any person on mere suspicion of involvement of terrorist activities, without any formal charges or trial and without human rights guarantees during detention. 137 

13. Situation in or in relation to specific regions or territories 

53. The Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967, the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People and Other Arabs of the Occupied Territories, the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism and the High Commissioner for Human Rights expressed serious concern about the continuing deterioration of the human rights and humanitarian situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, due, inter alia, to the construction of the wall in the West Bank. 138 In addition, as a result of the closure of crossings and the system of permits, the Palestinian people are adversely affected in their ability to gain access to education, health and other social services, and places of employment, as well as access to land and water resources. 139 

54. A 2008 ILO report noted that the confiscation of land of Syrian citizens, the uprooting and destruction of trees and seedlings, and discrimination with regard to access to water and construction permits, continue to affect the Syrian citizens living in the occupied Golan. 140 On 28 March 2008, the Human Rights Council adopted resolution 7/30 on human rights in the occupied Syrian Golan, calling upon Israel, inter alia, to comply with the relevant resolutions of the General Assembly, the Security Council and the Human Rights Council.

III. ACHIEVEMENTS, BEST PRACTICES, CHALLENGES AND CONSTRAINTS 

55. In 2007, The Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism was encouraged by advice from the Ministry of Justice that he will be consulted and invited to comment on new counter-terrorism legislation prior to its introduction to the Knesset. 141 

56. CERD noted that security measures taken in response to legitimate security concerns should not discriminate against Arab Israeli citizens or Palestinians in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, and that Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, in particular the West Bank, are not only illegal under international law but constitute an obstacle to the enjoyment of human rights by the whole population. 142 

IV. KEY NATIONAL PRIORITIES, INITIATIVES AND COMMITMENTS

Specific recommendations for follow-up

57. In 2003, the HR Committee requested the State to provide, within one year, information on, In 2003, the HR Committee requested the State to provide, within one year, information on, inter alia, the implementation of the Committee’s recommendations related, inter alia, to: prolonged detention without access to a lawyer; the practice of “targeted killings” and the demolition of property in the Occupied Palestinian Territory; the “necessity defence” argument used in interrogation techniques; and revocation of the Citizenship and Entry into Israel Law. 143 In January 2007, Israel provided its comments on the Committee’s concluding observations addressing these issues. 144 

58. Recommendations made to Israel by the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on the situation of human rights defenders include inter alia: ending of the occupation of the Occupied Palestinian Territory, respecting the resolutions of United Nations bodies, and accepting its obligations under international human rights and humanitarian law; amending laws, regulations and policies on freedom of assembly, and the right to protest violations; abandoning the practice of administrative detention; accepting independent monitoring of detention facilities; refraining from imposing restrictions on travel of human rights defenders. 145 

59. The joint mission of the four Special Rapporteurs in September 2006 recommended, inter alia, that Israel provide the full details of its use of cluster munitions; to investigate whether equal treatment of Jewish and Arab citizens of Israel, in particular regarding compensation for damaged property, access to free medical services and shelters, is ensured; to ensure participation of those affected in the post-conflict reconstruction activities. 146 

60. In 2007, CERD requested the State to provide, within one year, information on, inter alia, the follow up of its recommendations related to: revocation of the Citizenship and Entry into Israel Law; the implementation of projects aimed at avoiding separation of Arab and Jewish communities; recognition of Bedouin villages and the rights of Bedouins to own and use their communal lands and resources; and measures to ensure freedom of movement. 147 In July 2008, the State provided its comments on the Committee’s concluding observations addressing these issues. 148 

61. Recommendations made by the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism include inter alia: repealing the Incarceration of Unlawful Combatants Law; to provide remedy to victims of ill-treatment; to discontinue the present practice of authorizing administrative detention on the basis of evidence available neither to the detainee nor counsel; to withdraw all Jewish settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory; to ensure that the permits regime and the administration of checkpoints do not have a disproportionate impact on the enjoyment of rights; and that the rules of international humanitarian law be respected. 149 

62. The Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967 recommended Israel, inter alia, implement the ICJ Advisory Opinion on the Wall. 150 

63. In 2008, the High Commissioner for Human Rights recommended, inter alia, that Israel cease all actions violating international human rights and humanitarian law obligations and in particular the prohibition of collective punishment; that all parties to the conflict should establish accountability mechanisms providing for law-based, independent, transparent and accessible investigations of alleged breaches of international human rights and humanitarian law in accordance with their respective obligations ; and to end the closure of Gaza. 151 

V. CAPACITY-BUILDING AND TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE

 N/A.

 

Notes

1 Unless indicated otherwise, the status of ratifications of instruments listed in the table  may be found in Multilateral Treaties Deposited with the Secretary-General: Status as at 31 December 2006  (ST/LEG/SER.E.25), supplemented by the official website of the United Nations Treaty Collection database, Office of Legal Affairs of the United Nations Secretariat, http://untreaty.un.org/.

2 The following abbreviations have been used for this document:

ICERD International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination
ICESCR International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
ICCPR International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
ICCPR-OP 1 Optional Protocol to ICCPR
ICCPR-OP 2 Second Optional Protocol to ICCPR, aiming at the abolition of the death penalty
CEDAW Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women
OP-CEDAW Optional Protocol to CEDAW
CAT Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment
OP-CAT Optional Protocol to CAT
CRC Convention on the Rights of the Child
OP-CRC-AC Optional Protocol to CRC on the involvement of children in armed conflict
OP-CRC-SC Optional Protocol to CRC on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography
CRMW International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families
CPD Convention on the Protection of Persons with Disabilities
OP-CPD Optional Protocol to Convention on the Protection of Persons with Disabilities
CED Convention on the Protection of Persons from Enforced Disappearance

3 Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, supplementing the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime.

5 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and its 1967 Protocol, 1954 Convention relating to the status of Stateless Persons and 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness.

5 Geneva Convention for the Amelioration of the Condition of the Wounded and Sick in Armed Forces in the Field (First Convention); Geneva Convention for the Amelioration of the Condition of Wounded, Sick and Shipwrecked Members of Armed Forces at Sea (Second Convention); Convention relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War (Third Convention); Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War (Fourth Convention); Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, and relating to the Protection of Victims of International Armed Conflicts (Protocol I); Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, and relating to the Protection of Victims of Non-International Armed Conflicts (Protocol II); Protocol additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, and relating to the Adoption of an Additional Distinctive Emblem (Protocol III). For the official status of ratifications, see Federal Department of Foreign Affairs of Switzerland, at www.eda.admin.ch/eda/fr/home/topics/intla/intrea/chdep/warvic.html.

6 International Labour Organization Convention  No. 29 concerning Forced or Compulsory Labour; Convention No.105 concerning the Abolition of Forced Labour, Convention No. 87 concerning Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organize; Convention  No. 98 concerning the Application of the Principles of the Right to Organize and to Bargain Collectively; Convention No. 100 concerning Equal Remuneration for Men and Women Workers for Work of Equal Value; Convention No. 111 concerning Discrimination in Respect of Employment and Occupation; Convention No. 138 concerning Minimum Age for Admission to Employment; Convention No. 182 concerning the Prohibition and Immediate Action for the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labour.

7 Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD), concluding observations, CERD/C/ISR/CO/13, para. 3; Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), concluding comments, CEDAW/C/ISR/CO/3, para. 23.  Human Rights Committee , concluding observations, CCPR/CO/78/ISR, para. 11. Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR), concluding observations, E/C.12/1/Add.90, para. 15. Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC), concluding observations, CRC/C/15/Add.195, para. 2.

8 A/HRC/7/17, para. 49.

9 General Assembly resolution ES-10/14.

10 International Court of Justice, Legal Consequences of the Construction of a Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, Advisory Opinion, 9 July 2004, I.C.J. Reports 2004, para. 151, available at http://www.icjcij.org/docket/index.php?p1=3&p2=4&k=5a&case=131&code=mwp&p3=4.

11 Ibid. See also General Assembly resolution ES-10/15.

12 CEDAW/C/ISR/CO/3, para. 12, and CCPR/CO/78/ISR, para. 4.

13 CERD/C/ISR/CO/13, para. 16.

14 CEDAW/C/ISR/CO/3, para. 19; E/C.12/1/Add.90, para. 13; and Committee Against Torture (CAT), concluding observations, A/57/44/, para. 52 (b).

15 E/C.12/1/Add.90, para. 6.

16 CERD/C/ISR/CO/13, para. 31 and CRC/C/15/Add.195, para. 17 (b).

17 CEDAW/C/ISR/CO/3, para. 27.

18 See A/HRC/S-1/3, A/HRC/S-3/2 and A/HRC/S-6/2.

19 See A/HRC/S-2/2.

20 The following abbreviations have been used for this document:

CERD Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
CESCR Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
HR Committee Human Rights Committee
CEDAW Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women
CAT Committee against Torture
CRC Committee on the Rights of the Child
CMW Committee on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Their Families

21 E/CN.4/2005/72/Add.4.

22 E/CN.4/2006/95/Add.3.

23 A/HRC/2/7

24 A/HRC/6/17/Add.4.

26 A/HRC/7/17.

27 Press release, “Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief concludes her visit to Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory,” 28 January 2008.

28 Ibid.

29 A/HRC/2/7, para. 5.

30 The questionnaires included in this section are those which have been reflected in an official report by a special procedure mandate holder.

31 See (a) report of the Special Rapporteur on the right to education (A/HRC/4/29), questionnaire on the right to education of persons with disabilities; (b) report of the Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants (A/HRC/4/24), questionnaire on the impact of certain laws and administrative measures on migrants; (d) report of the Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, especially women and children (A/HRC/4/23), questionnaire on issues related to forced marriages and trafficking in persons; (d) report of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on human rights defenders (E/CN.4/2006/95 and Add.5), questionnaire on the implementation of the Declaration on the Right and Responsibility of Individuals, Groups and Organs of Society to Promote and Protect Universally Recognized Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms; (e) report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights and fundamental freedoms of indigenous people (A/HRC/6/15), questionnaire on the human rights of indigenous people; (f) report of the Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, especially in women and children  (E/CN.4/2006/62) and the Special Rapporteur on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography (E/CN.4/2006/67), joint questionnaire on the relationship between trafficking and the demand for commercial sexual exploitation; (g) report of the Special Rapporteur on the right to education (E/CN.4/2006/45), questionnaire on the realization of the  right to education for girls; (h) report of the Working Group on mercenaries (A/61/341), questionnaire concerning its mandate and activities; (i) report of the Special Rapporteur on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography (A/HRC/4/31), questionnaire on the sale of children's organs; (j) report of the Special Rapporteur on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography (E/CN.4/2005/78), questionnaire on child pornography on the Internet; (k) report of the Special Rapporteur on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography (A/HRC/7/8), questionnaire on assistance and rehabilitation programmes for child victims of sexual exploitation; (l) report of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises (A/HRC/4/35/Add.3), questionnaire on human rights policies and management practices.  

32 A/HRC/4/23, para. 14; E/CN.4/2006/95 and Add.5, para. 802; E/CN.4/2006/62, para. 24, and E/CN.4/2006/67, para. 22 (joint questionnaire); and A/HRC/7/8, para. 35.

33 Report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967, A/HRC/5/11, para.5.

34 Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) Annual Report 2006, pages 74 and 75.

35 OHCHR, 2007 Report on Activities and Results, p. 165.

36 CERD/C/ISR/CO/13, para. 17.

37 Ibid, para. 22.

38 Ibid, para 35.

39 CRC/C/15/Add.195, para 24; and A/57/44, para. 52 (d).

40 Special Rapporteur on racism, racial discrimination and xenophobia, E/CN.4/2005/18/Add.1, paras. 20-22.

41 CCPR/CO/78/ISR, para. 8.

42 E/C.12/1/Add.90, para. 33.

43 CCPR/CO/78/ISR, para. 15.

44 Report of the third special session (A/HCR/S-3/2). See also the interim report of the high-level fact-finding mission Beit Hanoun (A/HRC/5/20), and report of the high-level fact-finding mission to Beit Hanoun (A/HRC/9/26).

45 A/HRC/7/17, para 13-14.

46 A/HRC/4/20/Add.1, page 187-189.

47 E/CN.4/2006/53/Add.1, pages 131-136.

48 E/CN.4/2005/7/Add.1, paras. 365 and 366.

49 E/CN.4/2005/62/Add.1, paras.  855-859, 861 and 863-865.

50 Ibid, paras.  856, 859 and 863-864..

51 Summary of cases transmitted to Governments and replied received, Special Rapporteur on torture, E/CN.4/2006/6/Add.1, para.125.

52 Ibid, para. 124.

53 A/HRC/4/33/Add.1, para. 121.

54 CCPR/CO/78/ISR, para. 18; and A/57/44/, para. 52 (a) (iii) and (d).

55Report of the Secretary-General, Children and armed conflict, A/62/609-S/2007/757, paras. 82 and 83.

56 CRC/C/15/Add.195, paras. 31 and 32.

57 A/HRC/4/31/Add.1, para. 97.

58 CERD/C/ISR/CO/13, para. 29.

59 CCPR/CO/78/ISR, para. 20.

60 CERD/C/ISR/CO/13, para. 30.

61Ibid, para. 37.

 63Press release, statement by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, 23 November 2006.

 64E/CN.4/2006/53/Add.1, page 125.

 65Ibid, page 129.

 66A/HRC/2/7, para.99.

67 A/HRC/3/2, para. 317.

68 E/CN.4/2006/73/Add.1, para. 83.

69 CERD/C/ISR/CO/13, para. 20;  CEDAW/C/ISR/CO/3, para. 33; and CCPR/CO/78/ISR, para. 21.

70 CERD/C/ISR/CO/13, para. 20; and CCPR/CO/78/ISR, para. 21.

71 CEDAW/C/ISR/CO/3, para. 41.

72 CERD/C/ISR/CO/13, para. 34; and CCPR/CO/78/ISR, para. 19; A/HRC/7/17, paras. 34-35; A/62/360; A/HRC/6/17/Add.4, para. 45; A/HRC/8/17, para. 54.

73 A/62/13, p. vi.

74 A/62/13, paras. 32-33.

75 CERD/C/ISR/CO/13, para. 33.

76 Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), Humanitarian Appeal 2008, Geneva, 2007, p. 30, available at http://www.ohchr.org/Documents/Countries/CAP2008.pdf.

77 A/HRC/7/14/Add.1, para. 348-350 and 353.

78 E/CN.4/2006/55/Add.1, para. 480.

79 A/HRC/4/27/Add.1, para. 334.

80 Ibid, para. 327.

81 A/HRC/7/14/Add.1, para. 351.

82 A/HRC/4/27/Add.1, para. 330.

83 E/CN.4/2006/55/Add.1, para. 475.

84 A/HRC/4/27/Add.1, para. 332, 336, A/HRC/7/14/Add.1, para. 354.

85 E/CN.4/2006/55/Add.1, para. 488.

86 A/HRC/8/18, para. 58.

87 Press release, Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief concludes visit to Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory, 28 January 2008.

88 E/CN.4/2006/95/Add.3, para. 68.

89 Ibid, para. 69 and 70.

90 Ibid, para. 71.

91 Ibid, para. 73.

92 CERD/C/ISR/CO/13, para. 28.

93 Ibid, para. 8.

94 CEDAW/C/ISR/CO/3, para. 31.

95 Doc. No. 092006ISR111.

96 CCPR/CO/78/ISR, para . 24

97 E/C.12/1/Add.90,  para. 37.

98 Ibid, para. 36.

99 ILO, Report of the Director-General, The situation of workers of the occupied Arab territories, Geneva, 2008, p. 30, available at http://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/—ed_norm/relconf/documents/meetingdocument/wcms_092729.pdf (accessed on 6 August 2008).

100 Idem.

101 CERD/C/ISR/CO/13, para. 18.

102 E/C.12/1/Add.90, para. 5.

103 Ibid, para. 19.

104 Ibid, para. 26.

105 E/CN.4/2006/42/Add.1, para. 3-6. 

106 See footnote 99 above, page. 3.

107 OCHA, Occupied Palestinian Territory Consolidated Appeal 2008, 2007, p. 22, available at http://ochadms.unog.ch/quickplace/cap/main.nsf/h_Index/CAP_2008_oPt/$FILE/CAP_2008_oPt_VOL1_SCREEN.pdf?OpenElement.

108 A/HRC/8/17, paras.10-28;  A/HRC/7/17, para. 26.

109 Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), UPR submission, p. 3.

110 United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Human Development Report 2006, New York, 2006, p. 20.

111 A/HRC/4/30/Add.1, para. 37.

112 A/HRC/7/11/Add.1, para. 32.

113 CEDAW/C/ISR/CO/3, para. 37.

114 United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), State of the World Population 2005, New York, 2005, p. 81.

115 CEDAW/C/ISR/CO/3, para. 36.

116 UNICEF, Humanitarian Action Update, May 2008, p. 3, available at http://www.unicef.org/oPt/oPt_HAU_18_July_2008.pdf.

117 E/C.12/1/Add.90, paras. 44 and 45.

118 CERD/C/ISR/CO/13, para. 12.

119 A/HRC/6/15/Add.1, para. 265.

120 Ibid. para. 272 – 277.

121 Ibid, para. 279-292.

122 CERD/C/ISR/CO/13, para. 25.

123 E/CN.4/2006/73/Add.1, para. 88.

124 A/HRC/4/24/Add.1, para. 125-132.

125 Ibid, para. 133-141.

126 E/CN.4/2006/73/Add.1, para. 89.

127 UNHCR, States Parties to the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and the 1967 Protocol, Geneva, 2007, p. 3, available at http://www.unhcr.se/SE/Protect_refugees/pdf/states_parties_1951_convention.pdf.

128 UNHCR, Country Operations Plan: Israel, Geneva, 2007, p. 3, available at http://www.unhcr.org/home/PROTECTION/45221d9d2.pdf.

129 UNHCR, Global Appeal Report 2007, Strategies and Programmes, Geneva, 2006, p. 195.

130 CCPR/CO/78/ISR, para. 14.

131 A/HRC/6/17/Add.4, para. 19

132 Ibid, para. 25.

133 Ibid, para. 29.

134 Ibid, para. 47.

135 Ibid, paras. 48-51.

136 A/HRC/4/27/Add.1, para. 329.

137 E/CN.4/2006/52/Add.1, para. 131.

138 A/HRC/7/17, summary, page 2 and paras 36-40;  A/HRC/6/17/Add.4, para. 34;United Nations press release, “Special Committee on Israeli Practices concludes visit to Amman”, 1 July 2008; A/HRC/8/17, para. 55.

139 A/HRC/6/17/Add.4, para. 39;  A/HRC/7/17, paras. 18-24; A/HRC/8/17, paras. 16, 17 and 20.

140 ILO, Report of the Director-General, The situation of workers of the occupied Arab territories, Geneva, 2008, p. 20, available at http://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/—ed_norm/relconf/documents/meetingdocument/wcms_092729.pdf.

141 A/HRC/6/17/Add.1, para. 61.

142 CERD/C/ISR/CO/13, paras. 13 and 14.

143 CCPR/CO/78/ISR, para.26.

144 CCPR/CO/78/ISR/Add.1.

145 E/CN.4/2006/95/Add.3, paras. 74, 77-79 and 81.

146 A/HRC/2/7, para 103.

147 CERD/C/ISR/CO/13, adopted on 14 June 2007, para. 43

148 CERD/C/ISR/CO/13/Add.1.

149 A/HRC/6/17/Add.4, paras. 55-57 and 59-60.

150 A/HRC/7/17, paras. 52-54.

151 A/HRC/7/76, paras. 56-62.

 

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