The UN Committee against Torture has expressed deep concern about the continuing practice of torture and ill-treatment of Palestinian minors and the lack of identification and rehabilitation for torture victims seeking asylum in Israel. The Committee has also issued a set of recommendations to address these and many other issues related to torture and ill-treatment in Israel.
The recommendations follow a two-day hearing in Geneva where the Committee evaluated the performance of the Israeli Government in eradicating torture. As part of the hearings, IRCT members Aid Organization for Refugees and Asylum Seekers in Israel (ASSAF) and the Treatment and Rehabilitation Center for Victims of Torture (TRC) in Palestine produced extensive background information.
The two centres also travelled to Geneva to brief the Committee on their key concerns, which include the lack of programmes to identify and rehabilitate torture victims among asylum seekers in Israel, denial of protection for Palestinians seeking protection in Israel and the continued frequent practice of physical and psychological torture and ill-treatment of Palestinian juveniles in the custody of Israeli authorities.
At the hearing, the Committee raised the concerns of ASSAF and TRC and issued the following recommendations:
- To put an immediate end to solitary confinement of Palestinian juveniles and to prevent, investigate and adequately sanction practices of torture and ill-treatment against them.
- To ensure that minors deprived of liberty enjoy basic legal safeguard including having access to a lawyer and family also during interrogations.
- To ensure that all refugee status determinations are based on a thorough examinations of the merits of each individual case and to establish procedures for early identification of victims of torture among asylum seekers, which includes medical and psychological examinations.
- To ensure that asylum seekers who show signs of torture or traumatisation have immediate access to medical and psychological care.
The full set of recommendations is now with the Israeli Government and in the light of the very concerning situation in relation to Palestinian minors and treatment of asylum seekers, the IRCT encourages the Government to move towards swift implementation.
We now have a blueprint for what Israel needs to do to improve the implementation of the Convention against Torture. We hope that the Government will approach implementation with the same rigour as it did with the hearing in Geneva. It is high time that Palestinian minors see due process and torture victims seeking asylum receive the support and care they so desperately need,” said IRCT Advocacy Director, Asger Kjaerum.
ASSAF report to CAT available here.
TRC report to CAT available here.
Committee against Torture Concluding Observations on Israel available here.