Question of Palestine home
9 April 1996
COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS
Agenda item 8
QUESTION OF THE HUMAN RIGHTS OF ALL PERSONS SUBJECTED TO ANY
FORM OF DETENTION OR IMPRISONMENT
Written statement submitted by the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Center for
Human Rights, a non-governmental organization in consultative status
The Secretary-General has received the following written statement which is circulated in accordance with Economic and Social Council resolution 1296 (XLIV).
[8 April 1996]
Israel and the Palestinian Autonomous Areas
17. While Israel can and must take all appropriate steps to prevent violence against its citizens, its recent mass arrests of Palestinians and reported mistreatment of detainees violate international law. Under pressure from Israel and the United States to do more to protect Israel’s security, the Palestinian Authority established a State security court in 1995. This court’s procedures - trials without notice, at night, in undisclosed locations - fall far short of international standards. In response to the recent suicide bombings in Israel, the Palestinian Authority has arrested some 700 suspected supporters of Hamas and Islamic Jihad, mostly without warrant, and trials in the State security court have continued.
18. Under the authority of national security legislation, people in many countries, especially human rights advocates and critics of Government abuses, are detained indefinitely, interrogated under abusive conditions and subjected to legal proceedings that do not meet international standards. Even when unenforced, these laws inhibit the free expression and association that are essential to a society that respects human rights.
19. The Robert F. Kennedy Center for Human Rights again urges the Commission to address this widespread problem. We urge the Commission to adopt the recommendation of the Special Rapporteur on states of emergency that this issue be considered in depth. We ask that the Commission call on the Sub-Commission to undertake a study to expose and identify the effects of national security and related laws on the exercise of basic rights and to delineate more clearly the circumstances that constitute legitimate threats to national security for purposes of invoking exceptions to human rights principles. We further call on the Commission to establish a special rapporteur on human rights and national security laws, or, at a minimum, to provide that all special procedures include consideration of this issue.