26 September 2005 – Despite Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza, major violations of human rights continue to result from its occupation of Palestinian territories, construction of barriers and expansion of settlements, according to the United Nations official monitoring that situation in his latest report to the General Assembly.
“The wall and settlements seriously undermine the fundamental right of self-determination of the Palestinian people upon which all other rights depend," writes John Dugard, Special Rapporteur of the Commission on Human Rights on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied by Israel since 1967.
“In large measure, the wall and settlements are a consequence of occupation. The regime of occupation by definition results in a violation of human rights,” he adds.
There are some 8,000 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails, “whose treatment is alleged to fall well below internationally accepted standards,” according to the Rapporteur. In addition, he charges that freedom of movement is radically undermined by over 600 military checkpoints.
Among what he categorizes as violations of social and economic rights, he says that a quarter of the Palestinian population is unemployed and half the population lives below the official poverty line.
Health, education and water services suffer and housing remains a serious problem because of house demolitions, he says, adding that women suffer disproportionately from such violations.
With the caveat that his mandate does not extend to human rights violations committed by the Palestinian Authority, the Special Rapporteur also notes that five Palestinian prisoners were executed by the Authority in 2005. He expresses the hope that in the future, they will “refrain from this form of punishment.”
The format of the yearly report was set out by resolutions 1993/2 A and 2005/7 of the Commission of Human Rights.