Saturday, July 31, 2010

End Gaza blockade, UNHRC tells Israel

Palestinians scuffle with Israeli soldiers in the
West Bank village of Lubban al-Gharbi

Source: Press TV§ionid=351020202

The United Nations Human Rights Committee has told Israel to end the blockade of the Gaza Strip and to take action about its human rights violations.

On Friday, the committee also told Israel to end extra-judicial executions of terrorist suspects, make torture illegal, end construction of settlements in the occupied territories, stop building a wall cutting off some of the territories from other regions, and stop destroying homes as a collective punishment, Reuters reported.

The 18 experts of the UN Human Rights Committee said they are also worried about Israeli restrictions on the movement of Palestinians in East al-Quds (Jerusalem).

The panel of experts stated that since 2003, the Israeli armed forces have targeted and executed 184 individuals in the Gaza Strip, despite a Supreme Court ruling in 2006 imposing safeguards.

The UNHRC also told Israel to ensure that Palestinians in the occupied territories can enjoy the fundamental civil and political freedoms that are enumerated in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

Israel is a signatory to the international human rights treaty but maintains that the covenant does not apply to the occupied West Bank and Gaza, although it says that the treaty does apply to Jewish settlers there, committee member Christine Chanet said.

The panel dismissed Israeli assertions that the covenant — a multilateral treaty ratified by 166 nations in force since 1976 — did not apply in areas under occupation or during armed conflict, saying its government must ensure "full application."

The committee also called for a halt to restrictions on Palestinians and raised concerns about discrimination.

"The State party should ensure that all alleged cases of torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment and disproportionate use of force by law enforcement officials, including the police, the personnel of the security service and the armed forces, are thoroughly and promptly investigated by an authority, independent of any of these organs," the committee said.

The panel also questioned the fact that Tel Aviv is conducting its own inquiry into a commando attack on a Gaza-bound aid ship that killed nine Turkish activists and injured about 50 people on May 31.

They say that all decision makers responsible for the attack — whether military or civilian officials — should be prosecuted.

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