12 JULY 2010
On 13 and 14 July 2010, the UN Human Rights Committee will review Israel’s compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (Covenant).
Despite that the Committee has reiterated to Israel that it has a duty to implement the Covenant in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT), Israel continues to deny its responsibilities.
On the occasion of the review, Al-Haq submitted two Alternative Reports to the Committee outlining serious concerns on violations of the Covenant committed in the OPT with the support of evidence, factual information and a legal analysis.
In Al-Haq’s and the Centre on Housing Rights and Evictions’ (COHRE) joint Alternative Report, the organisations deal with house demolitions, forced evictions and safe water and sanitation in the OPT and Israel. The organisations conclude, amongst other things, that house demolitions, both for punitive and ostensibly administrative reasons are contrary to human rights law. Indeed, “Interference with the home based on unlawful discrimination is arbitrary by definition and thus violates Article 17 of the Covenant. Moreover, the manner in which the administrative house demolitions are carried out does not comply with the aims and objectives of the Covenant, which are to further the recognition of the inherent dignity and equal and inalienable rights of all”.
The organisations also conclude that punitive house demolitions and forced evictions carried out by Israel may amount to a violation of the prohibition on torture, and at the least amounts to a prohibition on cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
Furthermore, the organisations address the discriminatory allocation of water and sanitation services between settlements and Palestinian homes, as well as deliberate attacks by Israel on water and sanitation infrastructure.
In Al-Haq’s second Alternative Report, Al-Haq addresses violations relating to Palestinians’ right to freedom of movement. The report states that “the imposition of checkpoints on all Palestinians in the West Bank and its adverse affects on access to health care, education, employment and work places is neither necessary nor proportional. Moreover, checkpoints are focal points for Israeli physical and psychological abuse of Palestinians. Indeed, Israel’s security concerns should not be allowed to have a permanent, grave and all-encompassing effect on Palestinian life and dignity. Security concerns do not justify Israel’s extensive and excessive imposition of obstacles to Palestinian freedom of movement.”
The report also reiterates that the construction of the Annexation Wall on the OPT is illegal, and examines its implications on the Palestinian people. The report also addresses the denial of the freedom of movement of human rights defenders.
Furthermore, the report examines Israeli Military Orders 1649 and 1650, defining Palestinians in the West Bank as infiltrators, as well as the identification –and permit system which Israel has imposed on the Palestinian population.
Finally, the illegal blockade on the Gaza Strip, an Israeli action amounting to collective punishment, is found to amount to violations of the Covenant.