HRW denounces that the Palestinian authorities commit “crimes against humanity”

HRW denounces that the Palestinian authorities commit "crimes against humanity"


The NGO Human Right Watch (HRW) has denounced this Thursday that torture, both by the Palestinian Authority (PA) in the West Bank, and by the Hamas authorities in Gaza, may amount to “crimes against humanity”, given their systematic character for “many years”.

“More than a year after beating Nizar Banat to death, the Palestinian Authority continues to detain and torture critics and opponents,” said Omar Sakir, Israel and Palestine director for HRW.

Likewise, he has emphasized that “the systematic abuses by the PA and Hamas constitute a fundamental part of the repression of the Palestinian people.”

HRW has stressed in a shadow report submitted jointly to the United Nations Committee Against Torture with the Palestinian rights group Lawyers for Justice, that the Palestinian authorities systematically mistreat and torture Palestinian detainees, including critics and opponents.

In this regard, the organization has called on other countries to cut off aid to “abusive Palestinian security forces”, including the PA Police who have played a key role in the recent crackdown.

It has also urged the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court to investigate and prosecute those credibly involved in these serious abuses.

The PA and Hamas have said the abuses are nothing more than “isolated cases” that are being investigated and perpetrators are held accountable, but years of investigation by Human Rights Watch, including its 147-page 2018 report, ‘Two Authorities , one way, zero dissidence’ contradict these statements.

In 2021, the IACHR received 252 complaints of torture and ill-treatment and 279 arbitrary detentions against PA authorities in the West Bank and 193 complaints of torture and ill-treatment and 97 arbitrary detentions against Hamas authorities in Gaza.

IACHR affirms that Hamas authorities have also executed 28 people in Gaza since they took political control in June 2007, in a context in which violations of due process, coercion and torture are frequent, and have executed summarily to dozens of others without any judicial process, often under accusations of collaboration with Israel.

For this reason, HRW calls on the Palestinian authorities to respect the international human rights treaties to which they have adhered and put an end to the serious abuses and endemic impunity by holding those responsible to account.

Five years after Palestine acceded to the Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture, which requires the establishment of a “national preventive mechanism” to independently monitor detention centers, including with surprise visits, President Abbas issued in May a decree creating the National Commission against Torture.

However, HRW warns that the decree establishes that the president of the PA will appoint the members of the commission, who will be government employees, and that the commission will function as a government agency. This will deprive the commission of much of its actual independence, as the ICHR and a joint statement by 26 Palestinian civil society groups have pointed out. The body requests that President Abbas must annul the decree and present a new regulation that creates a totally independent body.

As part of its obligations under the Convention Against Torture to “prevent acts of torture in any territory under its jurisdiction,” the State of Palestine must end all security coordination with the Israeli Army that helps facilitate torture and other serious abuses, and stop handing over Palestinians, while there remains a real risk of torture and other prohibited ill-treatment, Human Rights Watch said.

“Many governments say they want to support the rule of law in Palestine, and yet year after year they continue to fund police forces that actively undermine it,” Sakir said.

“Alleged concerns about the fragility of Palestinian institutions and other excuses should no longer stand in the way. Donor governments must cut ties with abusive Palestinian police and security forces and center their policies on Palestine and Israel on human rights.” , Sakir has sentenced.

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Written by Editor TLN

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