ICHR receives and follows up citizens' complaints, whether individual or collective, related to human rights violations or attacks on public freedoms that occur in areas under the jurisdiction of PNA by the security services, institutions, and official and semi-official bodies. ICHR handles the complaints through conducting the investigations, collecting the necessary information and data, following them up with the concerned authorities and working on settling them up as quickly as possible. In 2016, ICHR reviewed and developed its complaints handling manual for further standardization of the procedures to be followed by the commission from the moment of receiving the complaint until its closure.
ICHR receives complaints through three main sources:
- Indirect ways: in these cases, citizens submit their complaints through the phone, fax, e-mail or social network. Then the complainant is called to hear all of their testimony and to sign it . If they refuse to sign or they are not able to attend, the case will be closed until the testimony is signed.
- Direct ways: in this case the citizen submits directly their complaint to any of ICHR’s offices.
- Complains received by ICHR’s field researchers: in this case the field researchers collect complaints from the citizens from the field. This way is used with inmates in prisons and detention centers.
ICHR follows up on the complaints with the competent authorities and sends official letters to request from the authorities to resolve the complaints. Doing this task, the Commission has the following responsibilities, as the Palestinian national institution:
- The Commission has the ability to follow up on complaints and to demand access to any files, data or papers from official authorities in order to acquire the truth.
- The Commission has the right to approach public institutions or companies.
- The Commission has the right to summon witnesses, including official authorities, to testify in court
- An employee cannot be persecuted with disciplinary action for cooperating with the Commissions
- The Commission’s reports and conclusions cannot be considered as a final testimony under any legal action
- The complaint is then registered in the Commission’s database and given a serial number and the citizen is then provided with a timeframe for a response from the Commission.
- Any person who has his/her rights violated can submit a complaint on their own or through a representative.
- The complaint should be submitted with proper evidence.
Any individual or citizen has the right to submit a complaint to ICHR when he/she confronts violations to his/her rights. Citizens can submit their complaints through their relatives or organizations that represent them. All complaints should be supported with evidence. Complaints are submitted to ICHR through certain forms prepared by the Commission.
Complaints that are within ICHR’s mandate:
- Arrest and detention without due process.
- Torture and ill-treatment while in custody.
- Death inside prisons and detention centers.
- Delays in the submission of a detained person to trial or charge him.
- Preventing family visits to the detainee.
- Inspections without legal warrants.
- Recruitment and employment issues without legal and formal procedures.
- Inadequate hiring circumstances or dismissal from public office.
- Failure to provide the individual with proper information regarding court procedures and rulings.
- Forced\early retirement.
- The failure by the executive authority to provide services such as the right to education, housing, health and unjustified delay in bureaucratic procedures.
- Discrimination based on grounds such as race, religion, sexuality or political affiliation.
- Violations resulting from the abuse of public office and power.
- Non-compliance of decisions made with the law.
- Property damage of the citizens by authorities.
- Violations of the right to life as a result of the use of force or negligence.
- The failure of the services services to hold law violators accountable.
- Discrimination in treatment and\or service provision to people with disability.
- Failure of provision of quality services to people with disability in accordance to law.
- Inproper attitudes and behaviours of civil servants against people with disability.
- Violations of rights stipulated in Palestinian laws, international treaties on human rights
Categories of Complaints that fall outside of ICHR’s mandate include:
- Complaints regarding conflicts between individuals or private institutions;
- Cases already filed in courts or other bodies of arbitration;
- Complaints related to obtaining humanitarian aid;
- Complaints regarding Israeli violations of Palestinian human rights (only when those violations negatively impact the performance of the PNA).
- If more than a year has lapsed since the violation took place, unless the violation is continuous.
Closures of a complaint:
- Satisfactory closure: in cases when the concerned agency has cooperated with the commission to resolve the case regarding the specific violation.
- Unsatisfactory closure: in cases where the Commission has exhausted all the necessary procedures with the concerned agency or defendant, where the violation remains unsolved due to lack of cooperation.
ICHR stops following up on the complaints based on the request of complainants, if new facts are revealed and prevent proceeding with the complaint, and if the citizen has not provided ICHR with the requested papers within a reasonable period of time.