PCHR Asserts its Firm Position Denouncing the Crime of Torture, Demanding Remedy and Justice for Victims and Confirms its Complete Bias to the Victims
Today, Wednesday 26th June 2013, is the anniversary of the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, an anniversary named by the United Nations to support the victims of torture and to bring their torturers justice.The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) asserts its firm position denouncing the crime of torture, particularly those committed by Israeli forces against Palestinians, knowing that these forces have incarcerated more than 4600 Palestinians, including more than 170 children, in Israeli jails in inhumane conditions.

PCHR calls for an immediate intervention of all responsible and international parties to end these crimes and redress the victims.

PCHR also asserts its condemnation towards the escalating crimes of torture in the prisons and detention centers of the Palestinian National Authority (PNA).

Furthermore, PCHR condemns the continued Israeli practices of physical and psychological torture against Palestinian detainees. In spite of the alleged Israeli denouncement of torture as a method of interrogation, human rights organizations’ reports continue to provide evidence that torture is systematically being employed in Israeli jails.

These various methods of torture include shackling ‘Shabeh,’ muzzling, beatings, humiliation, medical neglect and sleep deprivation.

An international report, issued by the Committee on the Rights of the Child of the United Nations on 20th June 2013, confirmed that Israel also practices imprisonment and torture against Palestinian children, an act in blatant violation of international law.

In this regard, PCHR emphasizes that Israel is a Contracting Party on international conventions against torture, including the Convention against Torture of 1984, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights of 1966, which criminalized torture in Article 3 and common Article 3 of the 4 Geneva Conventions, which considers torture as a war crime.

The practices of Israeli authorities against Palestinian prisoners are considered in clear violation of all of these international treaties; this holds the international community responsible for putting an end to these violations.

Unfortunately the crime of torture in Palestinian detention facilities in the West Bank and Gaza Strip in the past year have also increased.

According to a report issued by PCHR on 20th June 2013 entitled ‘Torture Crimes in Palestinian Detention Facilities’, torture crimes in detention facilities in the West Bank and Gaza Strip are committed in a systematic and organized manner.

Data available reflects that the practice of torture is sometimes used as a political conflict tool based on the political split.

The report also highlights that there are cases of torture based on criminal cases as well.

PCHR stresses that the Palestinian Authority (PA) is obliged to put an end to and criminalize torture, even if the PA has not ratified international agreements that criminalize torture so far.

Moreover, article 13 of the Palestinian Basic Law prohibits torture, as such prohibition is considered a binding international rule because it is part of the international customary law.

The PA by its individual will has repeatedly stressed its commitment to the international human rights agreements in different occasions.

This obliges the PA to put an end to and criminalize the crime of torture and prosecute the perpetrators.
PCHR underscores its complete bias to the victims of torture and:

1. Calls upon the international community, contracting parties to agreements that criminalize torture, to fulfill their international responsibilities and obligations and take immediate action in order to put an end to torture and inhumane practices against the Palestinian prisoners in the Israeli jails;

2. Calls upon the two governments in the West Bank and Gaza Strip to promptly end the practice of torture in the PA’s detention facilities and prosecute the perpetrators; and

3. Calls upon the government, community-based organizations and donors to pay more attention to rehabilitation programs for torture victims.

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