On 15 July, 2012, ICHR delivered testimony before United Nations Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting Human Rights of the Palestinian People. The ICHR was represented before UNCIIP by Gaza’s Program’s Director, Attorney, Muhammad Sarhan and Coordinator of Public Relations and Media Department, Attorney, Bahgat Al-Hilw.
Sarhan clarified to the committee the Israeli occupation ongoing violations and excessive use of force and negligence of anti- discrimination principle. He also pointed out the impact of such violations on the performance of the government in Gaza Strip and paralysis of its ability to play its due role in protecting and respecting human rights. Furthermore, he pointed out the impact of these violations on the performance of the executive, legislative and judicial authorities recalling the repercussions of the siege imposed on Gaza Strip and its curtailing of the government’s ability to fulfill its obligations. He also focused on the occupation forces’ administrative detention of members of the PLC, last of whom is MP Ahmad Mubarak from Ramallah, and disruption of PLC’s function leading Hamas parliamentary bloc to convene it by proxy. Hamas, due to the divide, play the legislative role alone and issues legislations severally in Gaza.
Sarhan shed light on the frequent Israeli aggression on Gaza Strip that led to the evacuation of the police stations and paralysis of the ability of the judicial police to arrest offenders. He also shed light on siege impact on the right of travel and movement which deprived judges from Gaza of taking part in capacity building courses targeting newly appointed judges with modest experience.
Concerning the impact of the Israeli violations on the performance of the executive authority, Sarhan said that “the ongoing siege and prohibition of raw material entry to the Gaza Strip hindered construction or renovation of prisons to match human rights standards”. The siege weakens the ability of the government to build schools, and so rendering the right of education in jeopardy, added he.
He submitted to the committee a set of recommendations pertaining to its report of 2011. These recommendations include the necessity of including into the report the mechanisms of implementing the recommendations thereof, confirming the legal status of Gaza Strip as an occupied land, considering ongoing siege as a crime against humanity, and affirming criminalization of administrative detention and violation of fair trial standards ensued thereof.
It is worth mentioning that the committee holds its session in Gaza city for the second time entering through Rafah crossing. In light of Israel’s official opposition to receiving and allowing it to exercise its function, it used to hold its sessions over the past years in Cairo and Amman.