Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Some news that you won't find on the pro-Palestinian BBC

The UNHRC is biased against Israel and in favour of the Palestinians of that there is no doubt so it was with some shock that I learned that the UNHRC had actually included some criticism of Hamas and the Palestinian Authority in their latest report, here's some extracts because the BBC will not report them...

The United Nations Department for Safety and Security reported 65 rockets and 15 mortar shells fired from Gaza towards Israel, with an additional 19 rockets and five mortars landing within Gaza and 20 rockets exploding at the launching site during the reporting period. No injuries were reported. The rockets are indiscriminate and a violation of international law.

 Arbitrary detention, torture and ill-treatment by the de facto authorities remained issues of concern in Gaza (see paras. 62–66 below). OHCHR received numerous reports of persons being arbitrarily detained for periods of up to a few months by the internal security agency across the Gaza Strip. Many detainees were allegedly subjected to shabeh[1] and sleep deprivation, with their heads covered with a bag for from a few days up to a few weeks. Detainees were reportedly allowed to remove the bag during prayers but, in most cases, not during interrogations. At meal times, most of the detainees were only allowed to lift the bag above their nose. Several detainees reported exposure to further ill-treatment and, at times, torture, including being hit on the soles of their feet, having their head hit against a wall and being slapped in the face or beaten with sticks, rubber tubes or lashes on other parts of their body.

1.     Concerns remain regarding the arbitrary detention and ill-treatment of detainees in the custody of the PPS and the Palestinian General Intelligence Service (GIS), including detainees linked to political opposition groups. While ill-treatment of detainees in GIS custody is not systematic, OHCHR documented a pattern of ill-treatment against those who do not make confessions. In several cases, detainees have alleged been blindfolded, handcuffed, slapped in the face and kicked in the legs. OHCHR also documented five cases during the reporting period where the authorities allegedly held detainees incommunicado and used sleep deprivation and stress positions. In at least one case, the detainee alleged multiple violations that may have amounted to torture.

2.     OHCHR was only able to interview a small sample of detainees held by PPS in the latter part of the reporting period, but it documented one case in which a detainee alleged that he was held in stress positions, subjected to sleep and sunlight deprivation and held incommunicado for 14 days. Several detainees reported being held incommunicado in the first two weeks of detention when detainees tend to be most vulnerable. As recorded on many previous occasions, both GIS and PPS continued to detain suspects arbitrarily despite orders to release detainees by the courts, thereby undermining the rule of law.[1]

1. In August 2013, two men were summoned to the internal security agency in northern Gaza and allegedly detained, interrogated and tortured because one of the men was involved in a public disagreement over a political issue. Both were blindfolded after arriving at the agency and accused of inciting people against the de facto authorities. One of the men said he was slapped in the face, kicked and beaten with sticks on his legs and on the soles of his feet. The other was reportedly beaten with sticks and a lash, and made to stand on one leg with arms lifted, while being beaten on the leg he was standing on.

2.     Detainees were held longest at the interrogation centre of the security agency in Gaza City and were allegedly prevented from meeting with their families during the interrogation phase which, in some cases, lasted several months. If at all, detainees were reportedly only able to meet their lawyers after the interrogations were completed and then only in the presence of security agency officials. This was the case of a 27-year-old man who was arrested by the internal security agency in April 2013 for collaborating with Israel. He was subjected to shabeh and sleep deprivation, and was only allowed to see his family after a month of detention, with no access to his lawyer during that period. [2]

The lack of effective and transparent investigation into cases of alleged unlawful killing, torture and ill-treatment involving the Palestinian security forces is of serious concern. Of the five investigative committees established in 2012 to look into various allegations, the report of only one committee was published, and it did not provide details of any action taken against perpetrators.[1] There is also a grave failure to properly investigate allegations of torture and ill-treatment. The Independent Commission for Human Rights (ICHR) had filed 124 such complaints in respect of the West Bank as of 31 October 2013, but consistently received outright denials from the authorities without initiation of a thorough and effective investigation.
                     De facto authorities in Gaza and armed groups 
   According to available information, no measures have been taken by the de facto authorities in Gaza to investigate credible allegations of violations of international humanitarian law by the said authorities or armed groups in Gaza, including the direct targeting of civilians and the indiscriminate firing of rockets towards Israel.[1]  

3.     Media reports, citing the spokesperson of the Interior Ministry of the de facto authorities, claim that following an investigation of the summary execution of alleged collaborators during the November 2012 escalation of tension,[2] measures had been taken against four prison officials “who had failed to do their jobs”.[3] Besides lacking transparency, there is insufficient information to determine if any investigation met international standards. It appears that the armed men directly responsible for the killings continue to enjoy impunity.

4.     In July 2013, at least 10 people were abducted and eight severely beaten by armed masked men in Gaza. The victims reported that the abductors presented themselves as members of Al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas, and accused them of being involved in the Tramadol[4] trade. Officials of the de facto authorities were allegedly involved in providing the armed men with information about the location of the victims. During their abduction, the men — who were covered with bruises and at least eight of whom had broken legs — were allegedly blindfolded, handcuffed and severely beaten on numerous occasions, including with iron rods, prior to their release. At the time of writing this report, there were no indications  that any investigations into these incidents were being conducted by the de facto authorities in Gaza.

Perhaps worst of all are the sections of freedom of expression and peaceful assembly:

In the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, OHCHR continued to receive reports that journalists faced arrest and questioning for work deemed to be critical of the authorities. OHCHR documented cases of Palestinians arrested for distributing political leaflets, as reportedly was the case in the incidents at Askar and El Far’a refugee camps. 

1.     While other legitimate charges may have been brought against the suspects in those cases, the fact that the authorities considered the distribution of critical political pamphlets a criminal issue is of concern.
                         De facto authorities in Gaza
2.     The de facto authorities in Gaza continued to restrict the enjoyment of the rights to freedoms of expression and opinion and of peaceful assembly. Members of political parties, journalists, social media activists and academics were arbitrarily detained. They reported being ill-treated and, in some cases, tortured because of opinions expressed through different media platforms, including social media, and their involvement in activities considered to be political and against the de facto authorities or their policies.[1]
3.     In August 2013, at least 20 Fatah members were arbitrarily detained and many reportedly ill-treated. The Fatah members were alleged to have distributed money to families of Fatah supporters who had been killed and injured during the 2007 intra-Palestinian clashes. Some were detained for weeks without charges and allegedly subjected to sleep deprivation, shabeh, beatings and extensive interrogation. Most stated they were obliged to sign documents stating their commitment to cease engaging in any political or other activities directed against the de facto authorities.[2]
4.     A number of individuals were detained in relation to Tamarod.[3] In one case, a 40-year-old employee of the Palestinian Authority was detained for approximately 18 hours by the internal security agency in Rafah in September 2013. He was interrogated about his involvement with Tamarod and reportedly subjected to shabeh and other ill-treatment and repeatedly told to confess that he had received documents related to Tamarod. He was released, reportedly after the security agency discovered that its intelligence was wrong. In another case, a Fatah activist was arrested by the security agency on two occasions for his alleged pro-Tamarod campaign on Facebook. He was reportedly tortured during detention, threatened with further detention if he opened a new Facebook account, and forced to sign a paper stating that he would not engage in political activities.[4]
5.     The de facto authorities also dispersed a number of peaceful demonstrations using excessive or unnecessary force. On 5 May 2013, the police of the de facto authorities forcibly dispersed a peaceful assembly organized by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine protesting against Israel's attacks on Syria. Demonstrators and journalists were beaten with sticks, and some were detained for a few hours. The photography equipment of some journalists was confiscated or damaged.[5] Shortly after, officials of the de facto authorities issued a statement denouncing the use of force against the journalists and apologizing for the “harsh treatment” they had undergone. However, the authorities maintained that the protest was unlawful, arguing that legal procedures had not been followed.[6] The spokesperson of the Ministry of the Interior of the de facto authorities requested that a commission of inquiry be established to investigate the incident. Since then, there has been no indication that this commission has been formed.

1.     Another serious issue of concern was the closure of two media offices. On 25 July 2013, the Prosecutor General of the de facto authorities in Gaza issued an order to temporarily close Ma’an News Agency and Al-Arabiya News Channel, accusing them of distributing false news regarding Hamas and its role in relation to political developments in Egypt. Ma’an News Agency reported that the de facto authorities provided it with a list of preconditions to be met in order to reopen the news agency, which were inconsistent with press freedom. Both offices were reopened in mid-November, without preconditions.
Also there is the matter of the death penalty...

Palestinian Authority
1.     On 4 May 2013, the Permanent Military Court in Jenin sentenced a security officer to death by firing squad for collaborating with Israel. In line with recent practice, the Palestinian President did not ratify this or any other death sentences. Pursuant to the President’s instruction, Palestinian military courts have retried a number of death-row prisoners and sentenced them instead to terms of imprisonment.
                         De facto authorities in Gaza
2.     Since 2008, courts of the de facto authorities in Gaza have issued 60 and upheld eight death sentences previously issued by the courts of the Palestinian Authority in Gaza.[1] The de facto authorities executed three persons during the reporting period, bringing to a total of 17, the number of executions since its takeover of Gaza.
3.     Palestinian Basic Law rightly restricts the jurisdiction of military courts to “military affairs” (art. 101 (2)). In Gaza, under existing laws,[2] the de facto authorities can impose the death penalty for a broad range of crimes, and civilians continue to be tried by military courts[3] despite the recommendations of the United Nations Human Rights Committee.[4] On a number of occasions, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights has urged the de facto authorities to halt executions, and raised concerns about the process by which death sentences were imposed in Gaza.[5] OHCHR consistently documented allegations of denial of the right to receive legal assistance, the use of ill-treatment and torture during interrogations and violations of the right to a fair trial by both civilian and military courts of persons later sentenced to death.
4.     In addition, persons sentenced to death are being denied the right to seek pardon or  commutation of their sentences. None of the 17 executions in Gaza were ratified by the President, as required under Palestinian law. Moreover, trials failed to meet fair trial standards, which is of heightened concern where the death penalty may be applied.[6]

Finally how about the rights of women?
Violence against women
1.     Women in the Occupied Palestinian Territory face multiple layers of violence and discrimination. The analysis made by the Special Rapporteur on violence against women in 2005 remains valid. She found that the combination of decades of Israeli occupation, the use of force against Palestinians by Israel, the different forms of resistance used by Palestinians against such use of force and the patriarchy prevailing in Palestinian society expose women to a continuum of violence in all spheres of life.[1] 
2.     Palestinian NGOs report that violence against women continues to be widespread[2] and so-called “honour killings”[3] remain of concern. Family honour plays a fundamental role in Palestinian society. Although there are no reliable statistics on “honour killings,”[4] in 2012,[5] ICHR documented five such cases across the Occupied Palestinian Territory.[6] However, there appears to be underreporting of cases; 13 additional cases of murder of women were documented as occurring under “mysterious” circumstances, which indicates that the number of “honour killings” may be higher.[7]
In 2011, the Palestinian President abolished article 340 of the 1960 Jordanian Penal Code,[8] which had been in force in the West Bank, and which allowed effective impunity for men who kill or injure their wives or female relatives (maharim) [9] whom they consider to be involved in adultery. However, this measure has not been effective as provisions establishing mitigating circumstances remain in force, in particular article 98 of the Penal Code,[10]  which provides for reduced penalties for a person who commits a crime in a state of great anger resulting from a wrongful and dangerous act on the part of the victim.[11] An NGO study of cases of “honour killings” between 2005 and 2010 showed that the evocation of such mitigating circumstances had dramatically reduced penalties.[12] In eight out of 10 cases, the perpetrators were charged with premeditated murder, which carries life imprisonment,[13] however, in most of the cases, due to a combination of mitigating circumstances and the victim’s family’s decision to “drop” the victim’s personal rights,[14]
I've checked the BBC news website and there's not a word about this report and I don't expect there ever will be for the BBC are very clear that Israel is to blame for everything that happens to the Palestinians and that the Palestinian Authority and Hamas are lovely peace-loving people who wouldn't hurt a fly.

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