Human Rights Committee Concludes Ninety-Ninth Session
Adopts Recommendations on the Reports of Cameroon, Colombia, Estonia and Israel
The Human Rights Committee concluded its ninety-ninth session today, during which it considered and adopted concluding observations and recommendations on the reports submitted by Cameroon, Colombia, Estonia and Israel on how those countries implement the provisions of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
Regarding the third periodic report of Israel, the Committee was pleased to note the country’s ratification of both Optional Protocols to the Convention on the Rights of the Child as well as the adoption of other legislative measures to strengthen human rights. Committee Experts voiced concern about violations of international human rights law during the military offensive in the Gaza Strip, extrajudicial killings and the use of torture, the continued demolition of homes, and the treatment of Bedouin communities. The Committee urged Israel to conduct credible investigations into human rights violations, end the use of extrajudicial killings, incorporate the crime of torture into its legislation, cease its practice of punitive home demolitions, and respect the Bedouin population’s right to ancestral homelands and traditional agricultural livelihood.
The full text of the Committee's concluding observations on the reports submitted by Cameroon, Colombia, Estonia ad Israel can be accessed at the following address: http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/hrc/hrcs99.htm.
Concluding Observations on Country Reports
Among positive aspects in the third periodic report of Israel, the Committee welcomed the adoption of several legislative measures and the ratification of international human rights treaties, including: the Investigation and Testimony Procedures Law (Adaptation to Persons with Mental or Psychological Disability) 5765-2005 (the “Investigation and Testimony Procedures Law (Adaptation to Persons with Mental or Psychological Disability)”); the Anti Trafficking Law (Legislative Amendments) 5766-2006, (the “Anti Trafficking Law”); the Gender Implications of Legislation Law (Legislative Amendments) 5768-2007, which imposed the duty to systematically examine gender implications of any primary and secondary legislation before it was enacted by the Knesset; the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography (2008); and the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict (2005).
The Committee expressed its concern that the State party’s armed forces had opened few investigations into incidents involving alleged violations of international humanitarian law and human rights law during its military offensive in the Gaza Strip (27 December 2008–18 January 2009, “Operation Cast Lead”), which led to one conviction and two indictments. The Committee reiterated its concern that since 2003 the State party’s armed forces had targeted and extrajudicially executed 184 individuals in the Gaza Strip, resulting in the collateral unintended death of 155 additional individuals. The Committee noted with serious concern consistent allegations of the use of torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, in particular against Palestinian detainees suspected of security-related offences. In addition, the Committee was concerned that, despite its previous recommendation, the State party continued its practice of demolishing the property and homes of families whose members were or were suspected of involvement in terrorist activities, without considering other less intrusive measures. The Committee also expressed concerns about allegations of forced evictions of the Bedouin population based on the Public Land Law, and of inadequate consideration of traditional needs of the population in the State party’s planning efforts for the development of the Negev, in particular the fact that agriculture was part of the livelihood and tradition of the Bedouin population. The Committee was further concerned at difficulties of access to health structures, education, water and electricity for the Bedouin population living in towns, which the State party had not recognized.
The Committee recommended that Israel launch credible, independent investigations into the serious violations of international human rights law, such as violations of the right to life, prohibition of torture, right to humane treatment of all persons in custody and right to freedom of expression. The Committee also said that the State party should end its practice of extrajudicial executions of individuals suspected of involvement in terrorist activities and ensure that all its agents upheld the principle of proportionality in their responses to terrorist threats and activities. The Committee recommended that Israel incorporate the crime of torture into its legislation, and completely remove “necessity” as a possible justification for the crime of torture. With regards to home demolitions, the Committee reiterated that the State party should cease its practice of collective punitive home and property demolitions and should further review its housing policy and issuance of construction permits with a view to implementing the principle of non-discrimination regarding minorities. In terms of the rights of Bedouins, the Committee recommended in its planning efforts in the Negev area, the State party should respect the Bedouin population’s right to their ancestral land and their traditional livelihood based on agriculture. The State party should further guarantee the Bedouin population’s access to health structures, education, water and electricity, irrespective of their whereabouts on the territory of the State party.
For use of the information media; not an official record
Document Type: French text, Press Release
Document Sources: Human Rights Committee, United Nations Office at Geneva (UNOG)
Subject: Closures/Curfews/Blockades, Covenant: Civil and Political Rights, Extrajudicial killings, Gaza Strip, Human rights and international humanitarian law, Legal issues, Prisoners and detainees, Torture
Publication Date: 30/07/2010