ODVV Statements at 21st Session of the Human Rights Council

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ODVV Statements at 21st Session of the Human Rights Council

Written statement submitted by the Organization for Defending Victims of Violence (ODVV), a non-governmental organization in special consultative status

item 3 : Right to development – Institutionalisation of the realisation of human rights

Approximately 46 years have passed since the raising of the right to development issue, and
26 years since the ratification of the Declaration on the Right to Development.1 With an emphasis on the mutual dependency of mankind, the right to development is the reflection of the common and reciprocal responsibility of humans towards each other for the purpose of the fulfilment of all human needs and realisation of world justice. This is why there is a solid link between development, human rights and global peace and security.

In various international documents and resolutions, the necessity and importance of this right have been reiterated one of which is the Establishment of the Human Rights Council Resolution.2

The preamble of the said resolution acknowledges: “that peace and security, development and human rights are the pillars of the United Nations system and the foundations for collective security and well-being, and recognizing that development, peace and security and human rights are interlinked and mutually reinforcing” and in view of this importance, article 4 of the resolution states: “that the work of the Council shall be guided by the principles of universality, impartiality, objectivity and non-selectivity, constructive international dialogue and cooperation, with a view to enhancing the promotion and protection of all human rights, civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights, including the right to development;”.

Nevertheless in spite of a lot of efforts and various international documents, it seems that there are important challenges and obstacles in the way of the right to development. One of the most important of these obstacles is the lack of cooperation and responsibility of developed countries. It must be reminded that the Declaration on the Right to Development was adopted in 1986 by 146 votes for and the only against by the United States of America, and numerous abstains from developed countries, and to-date the positions of the developed countries has always been in the weakening and undermining the importance of the right to development on the pretext of prioritisation of civil and political rights, while the recent years developments such as the far reaching economic crisis and some current international challenges all clearly indicate that the right to development is a prerequisite of all other human rights including civil and political rights, and the right to development is the most logical way to establish stability and development of welfare and encouragement of democracy and increase economic growth. And on the other side of the scale the deepening developed gap between developed and developing countries, threaten the stability and security of all countries including developed countries.

It must always be noted that development requires a process that includes equality and justice both in national and international communities. Any human rights approaches towards economic and social policies must be based on justice because the meaning of justice originates from human dignity philosophy, just as the equality of all people is one of the fundamental concerns of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The contents of the debates held at the United Nations and other international circles during the writing of the draft of the Declaration on the Right to Development, no doubt is left the thing that the right to development doctrine considers is an economic and social system based on equal and fair opportunities. But sadly the realities in the international arena draw a different

picture. Even though the traditional dividing of countries into North and South is not as important as it used to be in today’s interlinked world, but discriminatory actions and domineering attitudes and application of pressure from industrial and developed countries towards developing countries still continues; some examples of which are military interventions, ignoring the right of self-determination of nations, application of double standards approaches, application of economic sanctions and putting pressure on nations to impose the political will of global powers.

As well as the Declaration on the Right to Development, while giving primary responsibility of the right to development to national governments, it also stresses on international cooperation as thus: “States have the duty to co-operate with each other in ensuring development…”, and calls upon states “to ensure that the resources released by effective disarmament measures are used for comprehensive development.” The important question here is what steps have been taken in this regard to-date? It is clearly obvious that not only have developed countries not taken any steps in this regard, but by further militarization of the international environment, they have strengthened the basis for the stockpiling and use of all sorts of weapons across the world.

These conditions make it necessary for the Human Rights Council to continue its past efforts on the right to development more than before and put the subject in its top priorities.

Conclusions and recommendations

• In view of what’s been said, the United Nations has a significant role in the realisation of the right to development, because it’s the only place where development, human rights and peace and security are dealt with and at the international level, and is indicative of the will of the international community. Meanwhile through defining, determining and making transparent the nature and dimensions of the right to development and states and international institutions responsibilities and obligations, the Human Rights Council must design a mechanism for monitoring of states and the international community on their commitment levels towards the fulfilment of the right to development, and through provision of advice, publication of reports, provision of technical and expertise recommendations, encourage governments and apply suitable pressures for the realisation of the fundamental right to development.

• After the passage of 26 years since the ratification of the Declaration on the Right to Development, numerous debates and efforts have been made, but it seems that the time has come for the compilation and ratification of an enforceable international document to begin, as the “Convention on the Right to Development”, so that the obligations of states are transparently clarified at the national and international levels. The Human Rights Council can be a forerunner in the drafting of this convention.

• In view of the improper and in instance destructive practice of international lobbying and financial institutions and the economic policies of industrial countries which result in some form of division of international work which is to the disadvantage of developing countries, putting restrictions on the transfer of technology, growing income gaps, and unfair distribution of wealth and power at the international level; and also the lack of organized communication between institutions and experts in the fields of human rights, economy and sustainable development, we recommend the United Nations to establish a council for the provision of global economic security. In fact it must be said that the new international economy system includes new concepts of international trade laws which require the protection of the right to development of developing countries. This new situation must be reflected and realised in the UN structure mechanism.

• One of the most blatant examples of right to development violations is the imposing of economic sanctions against countries with the objective of forcing political behavioural change of the governments. Aside from whether how effective sanctions are in forcing governments to change their behaviour, to which experience has shown that they don’t have much influence, the blatant violations of the most natural economic rights of the people and an increased risk in life with the reduction of food, medical, and factories raw materials supplies, unemployment and many other instances and ultimately the creation of serious obstacles to reduce or stop the development of countries, are all grave violations of the right to development. We recommend through a resolution, the Human Rights Council to deem the imposing of international economic sanctions against countries as the violation of economic and social rights of the people and disregard of the right to development.
1 UN Documents, A/RES/41198 (4 December, 1968).
2 UN Documents, A/RES/60/251 (15 March 2006).

item 4: Human rights situations that require the Council’s attention

Unfortunately the bitter truth is that just as much as international human rights principles (regardless of place, gender, race and religion, and based on human dignity that require respect and observation) have been accepted by a significant part of all states of the world and thus become universal, human rights are violated to the same extent in all corners of the world, regardless of development levels, political systems and human rights commitments.

As a nongovernmental organization active in various human rights fields the ODVV wishes to draw the attention of public opinion towards a number of instances of human rights violations around the world, particularly countries that lay claim to custodianship and promoters of human rights.

The United States of America and human rights

Although over the recent months, America’s human rights violations outside of its borders have been more evident (particularly in regions with US military presence), nonetheless still, within the United States, nongovernmental human rights advocate organizations concerns are growing on social trends and even the legalisation of discrimination. As Human Rights Watch has stated, one of these is the immigrants’ debate and how they are treated.

On this basis The US Supreme Court’s decision to uphold part of Arizona’s immigrant law puts immigrant families in Arizona and other states at greater risk of abuse from local authorities. The June 25, 2012 ruling in Arizona v. United States overturned several sections of the Arizona law, commonly known as SB 1070, stating that they are pre-empted by federal law. But it left intact a section requiring police to attempt to verify a person’s immigration status if they have “reasonable suspicion” that the individual is in the country without authorization.

According to HRW, the court’s ruling on the law’s “reasonable suspicion” provision focuses on a narrow legal issue and does not foreclose other challenges to this provision. But this ruling could have immediate serious implications for immigrant communities and may encourage other states to adopt similar legislation. In a positive move, the court struck three other sections that would have criminalized unlawful presence and unauthorized work.

The International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, which the United States ratified in 1994, requires federal, state, and local governments to ensure that their immigration policies do not have the effect of discriminating against people on the basis of race, colour, descent, or national or ethnic origin. Even in cases in which specific police officers show no intent to discriminate, if their actions have discriminatory effects, the government is in violation of the treaty.

Furthermore according to another report from an American NGO:

The Department of Homeland Security Immigration and Customs Enforcement detained nearly 400,000 people last year; more than double how many people were in its custody four years ago. The growth is largely due to increased collaboration between federal immigration agents and state and local law enforcement officials, including programs such as Secure Communities. People in immigration detention face numerous obstacles to defending their due process and human rights, including inadequate access to lawyers and medical care.

As stated earlier, human rights violations by the United States in conflict regions have always existed in the past years and with the indifference of the country’s high officials

these trends have grown. It seems as if they think for the protection of America’s national security, as they define, any measure taken outside of the country is legitimate. The rise in the number of US drone attacks and as a result a rise in the number of civilian deaths and injuries in these blind attacks is one of the subjects that is a concern for the ODVV. The intensity of the cases of human rights violations is so serious that even former US President, Jimmy Carter has said: "United States is abandoning its role as the global champion of human rights…"Instead of making the world safer, America's violation of international human rights abets our enemies and alienates our friends.” The number of these attacks as the New America Foundation estimates that in Pakistan alone 265 drone strikes have been executed since January 2009. These strikes have killed at least 1,488 people and unfortunately in all these attacks civilians or those that have been thought to be militants but weren’t have been killed, and the only thing the US government has done is said that it will look into them.

Human Rights situation in the Palestinian Occupied Territories

We associate ourselves with The United Nations Special Committee on Israeli Practices in the Occupied Territories which has expressed serious concern about the treatment of Palestinian children in detention by Israeli security forces, and warned that a pattern of detaining and mistreating children “links to broader, longstanding concerns regarding Israel detention of Palestinians generally".

According to the Committee's report, “Witnesses informed the Committee that mistreatment of Palestinian children starts from the moment of detention,” said Ambassador Palitha T.B. Kohona, Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the United Nations in New York, and Chairperson of the Committee, at the end of a fact-finding visit to Amman, Cairo and the Gaza Strip.

Ambassador Kohona explained that parents are not allowed to accompany the detainees, and that family members are insulted, intimidated and at times physically assaulted. According to witnesses, the detention and transfer of children can last for hours, and can often include stops in Israeli settlements, Israeli checkpoints and police or military bases.1

This situation also has been considered by United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the occupied Palestinian territories, Richard Falk, who has brought the issue under consideration and has declared: “Israel’s use of solitary confinement against children flagrantly violates international human rights standards,”

While expressing his outrage that Israel even imposes solitary confinement punitively on child hunger strikers, he has reaffirmed that “Using solitary confinement as a punishment for Palestinian children who wish to peacefully protest their situation, including by commencing a hunger strike against conditions of detention, is an appalling abuse of child prisoners.”

“This pattern of abuse by Israel is grave,” the Special Rapporteur stressed. “It is inhumane, cruel, degrading, and unlawful, and, most worryingly, it is likely to adversely affect the mental and physical health of underage detainees.”2

Two final important points

1. Canada’s unexpected reaction towards the UN Commissioner on Human Rights report on the handling of the protesters in Quebec and the violation of their rights to association also show a reduction in the nation’s take it easy levels, and as stated in the NGOs reports (www.upr-info.org) there were a record 908 recommendations given for the improvement were given to Canada in its first round of the UPR. Canada must realise that the subject of human rights is universal, and there is the possibility of their violations, and more importantly the diversity of views on how to make correct approaches towards a human rights issue.

2. The tragic earthquake in our country Iran showed that the meaning of targeted sanctions imposed by the United States who repeatedly claims that the sanctions solely target nuclear and military sectors, are anything but targeted. In view of America going further than the Security Council sanctions and threatening other countries to follow in suit and impose further sanctions against Iran, which do nothing but affect food, medicine and even infants powdered milk, the result of all of which is what took place after the earthquake, when American and Iranian charity institutions lobbied for days to get Congress to temporarily lift the sanctions against Iran, and only on the condition that the sent aid would be received by Iranian aid NGOs and or the victims themselves.

We hope that the Council will set up a panel on the subject of “sanctions and human rights violations” so that the different aspects of sanctions and the real separating lines between sanctions and their negative effects on all three human rights generations are determined, and also determine how free a hand can countries have in imposing sanctions and applying pressure on others to get their cooperation.
1 http://www.unog.ch/unog/website/news_media.nsf/(httpNewsByYear_en)/B950EF51E193EF
2 http://www.unog.ch/unog/website/news_media.nsf/(httpNewsByYear_en)/B956DE74EF2940

item 6: Bahrain UPR

The situation of human rights in Bahrain is now in its worst scenario, a compilation of continuous and brutal crackdown with an agonizing and meaningful world’s most important Medias silence. Unfortunately even during and after working group session on 2nd Bahrain’s UPR, something is still missed: A real, genuine, respectful and tolerated approach from the government towards the wishes and needs of protestors, the people who were beaten, tortured and jailed, instead of being listened to.

We, as a nongovernmental organization, that is active in different fields of advocacy and monitoring human rights, especially in the Middle East and Persian gulf region, are concerned about blatant violations of human rights of Bahrainis, specially Shia minorities and human rights defenders and ask government of Bahrain to pay special attention to the cases which have been classified below and our subsequent recommendations.

Human Rights defenders and doctors

One of the most extensive forms of human rights violations in Bahrain are the grave violation of the rights of doctors in the country, which causes Organization for Defending Victims of Violence and human rights defenders in various countries serious concern. Richard Sollom deputy director of the Physicians for Human Rights says in this regard: “in two decades of study on human rights violations in more than 20 countries, I have never witnessed such extensive and systematic violations that take place in Bahrain.” Ambulances, hospitals, clinics, doctors, nurses and medical staff are all targeted, and this is very extensive and continues to take place. These attacks seriously violate the neutrality of physician’s principle and international law.

While observing their code of ethics in fair and unprejudiced treatment of injured protestors and civilians, the rights of doctors and nurses in Bahrain themselves are violated, and not only we’ve witnessed their dismissal from medical treatment centers, but in instances these humanitarian acts of theirs has resulted in their arrest and detention. At least 22 medical experts were grabbed by security forces and sent to solitary confinement.

Meanwhile the situation of other prominent human rights defenders like Nabeel Rajab, Abdulhadi Al-khawaja, Zainab Al-khawaja and Abdul-Jalil Al-singace, who have been sentenced to jail, just for engaging in their inalienable rights of freedom of thoughts and speech, is a matter of concern to us.

Destruction of properties and holy places

The Organization for Defending Victims of Violence is deeply concerned over the attacks on mosques and destruction of holy Islamic property and also banning the Shia to hold religious ceremonies and also attacks on mourners over the recent months in the country which are all grave violations of international law with regards to the protection of places of worship, and also Articles 18 and 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights with regards to freedom of religion and belief and holding of religious ceremonies in public or private.

Violation of the right of self determination

The independent decision making of a nation with regards to internal issues is a value. Thus Article 2 of the UN Charter mentions the objectives and principles of the United Nations with regards to the self determination of nations. Article 2.4 also stresses: “All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner

inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations”. This is while the military intervention of Saudi Arabia is a blatant violation of the aforementioned paragraphs. The philosophy behind the clear military support of Bahrain by Saudi Arabia is for the crackdown of the Bahraini Shia and preventing them from getting political power. This is a clear violation of Article 1.2 of the Charter.


1. The rights of various groups that include human rights defenders and doctors that have been violated in the recent unrests must be compensated in accordance with international laws, and these individuals have a right to complain against the abuse of their rights in national courts as stated in Article 8 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

2. We ask the government of Bahrain to carry out an in-depth inquiry into past and present allegations of torture as well as all allegations of excessive and illegal use of force and bring those responsible to justice and also to continue the reform process and ensure accountability by investigating all allegations of torture and mistreatment and by prosecuting any individuals found responsible, including senior government officials.

3. We ask the government to review convictions, commute sentences, or drop charges for all persons who engaged in non-violent political expression, especially 4 human rights defenders; Nabeel Rajab, Abdulhadi Al-khawaja, Zainab Al-khawaja and Abdul-Jalil Al- singace. In this regard we associate ourselves with 38 human rights NGO’s who in the middle of August 2012, called on the government to free these human rights activists.1

4. We recommend full implementation of the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry’s (BICI) which cover a broad range of tasks, including the ensuring of accountability, prevention of the recurrence of human rights violations through law reform and training of law enforcement personnel, and respect of due process. ODVV urges the government of Bahrain to implement the outcome of the national conciliation dialogue in order to overcome the effects of unfortunate events.

Alongside of that we ask the government to ensure that all allegation of human rights violations during and after the February – March 2011 protests by the security forces are independently, promptly and thoroughly investigated, bringing perpetrators to justice and providing victims with due redress and rehabilitation.

5. For non-occurrence of those regrettable events, we recommend the Bahrain government to impose some amendments or ratification of due regulations such as:

• Repeal or amend the 2002 Press Law eliminating all restrictions upon the freedom of the press not in line with relevant provisions of the ICCPR, and also Amend the Penal Code to remove all criminal penalties for alleged libel offences and the press law to bring its provisions into compliance with article 19 of ICCPR;

• The ratification of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court and the full
alignment of Bahrain’s national legislation with its provisions;

• Amend any article of its Penal Code that can be used to prosecute individuals for the exercise of the rights to freedom of expression, peaceful assembly or association, and bring its laws into line with international standards established by the International Covenant for Civil and Political Rights.

6. ODVV calls upon Bahraini officials to accept the visit of the Special Rapporteur on
Freedom of assembly and association and also continue and strengthen cooperation with the

UN Human Rights Mechanisms and its various efforts made for human rights capacity building and also Establish an open, genuine, all-inclusive and effective national dialogue among different concerned parties with the aim of effectively addressing the legitimate aspirations and concerns of all the population in a democratic manner.

7. According to Article 1.2 of the UN Charter one of the purposes of the United Nations is: “To develop friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples, and to take other appropriate measures to strengthen universal peace.” Also Article 2.4 of the Charter states: “All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations.”; therefore it is expected for other countries, such as Saudi Arabia to while respecting human rights laws to refrain from military intervention in Bahrain.

8. We call upon the government of Bahrain, as it has been endorsed by Bahrain representatives in article 113 of final report of UPR working group, to comply with its commitments regarding reconstruction of all the places of worships that had been destroyed during unrests.
9. We also associate ourselves to the statement made by Switzerland in 20th session of human rights council on behalf of 27 countries, calling on Bahraini authorities to agree to the establishment of an OHCHR office in Bahrain.
>do nothing but affect food, medicine and even infants powdered milk, the result of all of which is what took place after the earthquake, when American and Iranian charity institutions lobbied for days to get Congress to temporarily lift the sanctions against Iran, and only on the condition that the sent aid would be received by Iranian aid NGOs and or the victims themselves.

We hope that the Council will set up a panel on the subject of “sanctions and human rights violations” so that the different aspects of sanctions and the real separating lines between sanctions and their negative effects on all three human rights generations are determined, and also determine how free a hand can countries have in imposing sanctions and applying pressure on others to get their cooperation.
1 http://www.bahrainrights.org/en/node/5388.
item 6 :United Kingdom UPR

Human trafficking in the UK

Human Trafficking is the fastest growing criminal activity in the world. The United Kingdom is a destination and, to a lesser extent, transit country for women, children, and men trafficked for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation and forced labor. Some victims, including minors from the UK, are also trafficked within the country. Migrant workers are trafficked to the UK for forced labor in agriculture, construction, food processing, domestic servitude, and food service. Women made up almost three quarters of the suspected victims - and half of all the cases related to allegations of sexual exploitation. The other half all related to forced labor.

While the UK government stipulates that victims are not inappropriately incarcerated, fined or penalized for unlawful acts as a direct result of being trafficked, some victims reportedly have been charged and prosecuted for immigration offences. One victim who managed to escape from her trafficker during the reporting period was repeatedly imprisoned on immigration violations, according to media sources. The UK provides foreign victims with legal alternatives to their removal to countries where they face hardship or retribution. This process continues to be cumbersome and inconsistent for victims seeking such alternatives. By filing asylum, humanitarian protection or extraordinary relief claims on a case -by-case basis, such victims may obtain residency.

In the business of slavery, there are cases of child human trafficking, within the UK, where victims have been rescued from slavery only to go missing from UK care systems. It is believed that in such cases victims are tracked down by their traffickers and rarely resurface.

Minority Rights and Islamophobia

Recent years have witnessed incidents of hatred or irrational fear of Islam and Muslims. Islamophobia has led to the practice of discrimination against Muslims by excluding them from the economic, social, and public life of the nation. It includes the perception that Islam has no values in common with other cultures, is inferior to the West and is a violent political ideology rather than a religion.

A perceived trend of Islamophobia has been recognized by the Organization for Defending Victims of Violence. Particularly, ignorance of governments to pay more attention to this form of intolerance is the ruling sentiment across nations with Muslim minorities.


ODVV commends the United Kingdom on its implementation of recommendations from the first UPR cycle, and offers the following recommendations:

• We are concerned regarding the impact of the current austerity measures imposed by the United Kingdom Government, which will unfairly affect vulnerable groups such as women, children, and the impoverished, as well as university students concerning their unduly increased tuition fees. ODVV wants the United Kingdom to publish the policies made particularly regarding the rights of the vulnerable.

• We suggest the British Government publish as soon as possible a report concerning its Commission on a Bill of Rights on how the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) is protecting and extending British liberties.

• ODVV welcomes the United Kingdom Government’s work to tackle human
trafficking. It urges the United Kingdom to continue to address this issue. Some

measures as temporary residence permits have been taken by the UK government, which are granted on the condition that the victims cooperate with law enforcement authorities. ODVV further urges the UK government to provide a report of the tangible results of the Government’s action plan around violence against women and girls, and explain the type of help, legal redress and compensation that is available to them. We request information on measures used to strengthen efforts to combat human trafficking.

• ODVV calls on the United Kingdom to ensure that effective measures are in place to allow for quick and accurate identification of trafficked victims, drawing attention to incidents where victims have been identified as irregular migrants. In such cases, victims are often deported and therefore unable to seek redress. When a safe return to the country of origin was not guaranteed victims must be offered temporary or permanent residence permits.

• ODVV wants to know measures taken to provide protection for overseas domestic workers from abuse. We are concerned with the existence of discrimination migrant workers and increased cases of racist incidents. ODVV wants to know the United Kingdom’s practices in tackling hate crimes and in interfaith dialogue. We are also concerned with the United Kingdom’s position towards the ICRMW and ILO Convention No. 143 on Migration in Abusive Conditions and the Promotion of Equality of Opportunity and Treatment of Migrant Workers.

• ODVV urges the UK government to ensure that adequate procedures are in place to enable quick and accurate identification of trafficked persons to prevent any misidentification of trafficked persons as irregular migrants, which often leads to detention and deportation, effectively precluding a chance to seek compensation.

• We urge the United Kingdom to ensure that trafficked persons are equipped with access to information, free legal aid and other necessary assistance such as interpretation services, and regular residence status during the duration of any legal proceedings.

• We are concerned with the existence of discrimination against Muslims and urge the
United Kingdom to intensify its efforts to promote multiculturalism at all levels.

• ODVV calls for the UK Government to introduce general anti-discrimination laws. Future policies must ensure they do not undermine the trust Muslim communities have in state institutions nor their sense of belonging in Britain.

• ODVV calls all people of faith to “challenge Islamophobia”. People from all sections of the societies have a crucial role to play in helping to dispel myths about Muslim communities. There is a common misconception that Islam is a religion of Violence. There is no basis for this in Islam. Islam is a religion of peace. Accordingly, ODVV invites nations to improve understanding among all Abrahamic faiths and cultures and avoid incitement to hatred and violence, in order to reach a world of peace and security.

• We are also alarmed by reports indicating the United Kingdom’s complicity in the secret detention of persons as well as torture and punishment in detention facilities in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Given the above, the Organization for Defending Victims of Violence urges the United Kingdom to continue to remain committed to its national, regional and international commitments.
item 7: The situation of Palestinian prisoners

One of the human rights going concerns, is the right to enjoy human freedoms which have always been violated by powerful and occupying nations. This is seen in Palestine and Palestinian Occupied Territories more than other places. A place where according to the Human Rights Council 22 February 2012 report (A/HRC/19/NGO/75), from 1967 to-date approximately 700,000 Palestinians, 20 percent of the whole Palestinian population in other words and 40 percent of the total male population have been detained on Israeli Military Orders.1

Imprisonment and detention has turned into a real nightmare for Palestinians, especially children, because according to the same aforementioned report, each year between 500 and
700 Palestinian Children from the West Bank are arrested, tried in Israeli military courts and instead of enjoying their childhood, they taste the bitter taste of torture.

Glancing at the terrible human rights conditions of Israeli prisons, we can observe the injustice and deprivation of the human rights of Palestinians take place contrary to international law standards and once again Israel’s irresponsibility towards all international commitments are visible.

In various forms such as administrative detention, solitary confinement and temporary detention, the IDF deprive Palestinian citizens from their basic rights; to an extent where according to latest statistics there are now 4423 prisoners currently in Israeli prisons, 250 of which are in administrative detention, and there are 211 children in prisons too.2

This is while according to contents of international law such as human rights laws, International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the Geneva Four Convention, and international humanitarian law, administrative detention can only be done in exceptional cases and determined necessities by the occupation forces. But in reality arbitrarily and claims to emergency conditions (referring to their Military Order 1651)3 the Israelis have extensively Palestinian civilians under administrative detention, and they are imprisoned without being charged, the right to lawyer and trial and family visitations.

Furthermore, even though the isolation of prisoners in solitary confinement also must be in accordance with international agreements such as the ICCPR and other UN documents particularly article 32 of the Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (1957)4 and the Declaration on the Basic Principles for the Treatment of Prisoners (1990). But despite of these the domestic laws of Israel bring about the possibility of the justification and extensive use of solitary confinement for the relevant authorities.5

These as well as other measures are contrary to international law standards that include, torture, physical abuse, military detentions of Palestinians, and the double standards with the civil legal system dominating in Israel, and hidden discriminations that include
difference in detention age,6 lack of access to legal council during interrogation for detainees and even children,7 denying visits and communications with families, forceful transfer of prisoners, attacking prisoner cells and provocative searches, lack of food, and prison stores’ goods being expensive, cash fines and collective punishments, mistreatment of women,8 a sharp drop in education and medical services, have all brought about grave concerns over the violation of Palestinian prisoners’ basic rights, and despite the extensive detailed reports of relevant NGOS, it has all fallen to the deaf ears of international political circles.9

This is why Palestinian prisoners on the occasion of Palestinian Prisoner Day and Yom Ol- nikba, and the lack of international support, they went on mass and prolonged hunger strike for their minimum demands and improvement of their conditions which were the removal of administrative detention and solitary confinement and for the recognition of their rights as prisoners of war. This caused grave concern for their health and even some UN officials including Richard Falk warned but unfortunately the reports of legal organizations including Addameer Organization indicated medical neglect and application of inhuman pressures on the prisoners to end their strike and their terrible physical conditions.10

Even after the agreement of Israeli officials with prisoners to end their hunger strike, Israel’s failure to answer the international community and the lack of pressure tools to make Israel observe international and human standards and bilateral agreements, resulted on this agreement to be breached on several occasions.11

Therefore, while supporting the Palestinian prisoners in their bid for the realisation of their rights and application of justice, we express deep concern on their health and physical, mental and hygiene conditions, and call upon relevant international organizations to fulfil their duties for the reduction of the pains and sufferings of the Palestinian prisoners, and force Israel to observe and respect the rights of the prisoners and observe its international commitments.

1 http://unispal.un.org/UNISPAL.NSF/0/6E9D184DEA0001CF852579C30050B625.
2 http://www.arabs48.com/?mod=articles&ID=93582.
3 Application of article 285 of Military Order 1651 which allows an individual to be arrested and detained for over six months upon the renewal on the condition of “the existence of a logical justification to create the assumption that the regional or public security requires this detention.”
4 The ratification of the first UN congress on the Prevention of Crime and Treatment of Criminals that
was held in Geneva in 1995, and the reviewed and approved by ECOSOC in resolution 663C (XXIV)
dated 31 July 1957, and 2076 (LCII) 13 May 1977.
5 Article 56 of the Israeli Prisons Ordinance contains a vast area of prison offences that are punishable by solitary confinement.
6 Report of the 19th Session of the Human Rights Council 22 February 2012:
7 Palestinian human rights organizations statement on not letting lawyers have access to prisoners on hunger strike: http://addameer.org/etemplate.php?id=470
8 http://samidoun.ca/2012/04/abuse-and-torture-of-women-in-israeli-occupation-prisons http://www.abayan.ae/one-world/arabs/2012-03-08-1.1607483.
9 http://www.un.org/depts/dpa/qpal/docs/2012%20Geneva/P1%20khaled%20quzmar%20EN.pdf
And report of the Palestinian Legislative Council on the conditions of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli prisons on 16 April 2012: http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/WO1205/S00056/esa-committee-report- situation-of-prisoners-in-israeli-jail.htm ICRC’s concern over the health of Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike: http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/world/2012-05/07/c_131573555.htm
Amnesty International report: http://www.amnesty.org/ar/news/israel-free-palestinian-detainee- prisoners-launch-mass-hunger-strike-2012-04-17 http://www.alzaytouna.net/permalink/17212.html?print.
10 http://www.arabs48.com/?mod=articles&ID=91900,
http://samanews.com/index.php?act=Show&id=127954 http://samanews.com/index.php?act=Show&id=128585.
11 http://www.arabs48.com/?mod=articles&ID=91855.

“ ODVV Statements at 21st Session of the Human Rights Council ”