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HRW report: Palestinian abuses in Gaza and the West Bank

Human Rights Watch publicou hoxe un informe de 113 páxinas sobre as violacións dos Direitos Humanos cometidas polas autoridades dos “territorios palestinos ocupados” de Gaza e Cisxordania. Os abusos soen quedar impunes. Os máis frecuentes son detencións arbitrarias (politicamente motivadas), maltrato e tortura a detidos e ataques ás liberdades civís (asociación e expresión en particular).

O informe leva por título “Internal Fight: Palestinian Abuses in Gaza and the West Bank”. Copio un extracto da súa introducción:

This report documents serious human rights abuses over the past year by the competing Palestinian authorities in Gaza and the West Bank, run by Hamas and Fatah, respectively. Over the past 12 months, Palestinians in both places have suffered serious abuses at the hands of their own security forces, in addition to persistent abuses by the occupying power, Israel.

The specifics differ, but the Hamas-run authority in Gaza and the Fatah-dominated authority in the West Bank have both tightened their grips on power over the past year. As a result, Palestinians in both Gaza and the West Bank have experienced a marked deterioration in respect for human rights and the rule of law.

Since June 2007, when Hamas forcefully seized control in Gaza, it has conducted arbitrary arrests of political opponents, tortured detainees, clamped down on freedom of expression and assembly, and violated due process rights enshrined in Palestinian law. The victims have frequently been leaders, activists and supporters of Fatah, especially those with suspected ties to a security force or those who sought to undermine Hamas rule after its electoral win in January 2006.

In the West Bank, the Fatah-dominated authorities have committed many of the same abuses, with victims being the activists, leaders and supporters of Hamas and affiliated institutions. Fearful of a Hamas takeover of the West Bank, security forces have detained hundreds of people arbitrarily, tortured detainees, and closed media and organizations that are run by or sympathetic to Hamas. The West Bank security forces have operated with significant support, financial or otherwise, from the United States, the European Union and Israel.

In both Gaza and the West Bank, Palestinian authorities have frequently failed to hold accountable security force members implicated in serious abuse. Neither authority is known to have prosecuted any of its own forces for the serious abuses committed during the heavy fighting in Gaza in June 2007, including summary executions, maiming and torture. Since then, too few security force members or commanders have faced justice for using excessive force, ill-treatment or torture against detainees. […]

Many of the abuses documented in this report have been exacerbated by the destruction Israel inflicted on Palestinian security installations and criminal justice facilities since the second Intifada began in 2000, as well as restrictions on movement imposed by Israel on Palestinian security forces in the West Bank. In addition, the Palestinian security system is burdened by a legacy of multiple and often overlapping services, lack of independent oversight and the absence of witness protection. With little investigative experience and no forensic facilities, security forces continue to rely on a confession-based system, which encourages the physical and psychological abuse of detainees.

None of these burdens, however, justify the abusive behavior of security forces in Gaza and the West Bank. Direct orders to commit abuses, or the lack of political will to stop them, have caused additional suffering to a people already enduring ongoing violations as a result of the Israeli occupation. The widening gap between Gaza and the West Bank has paralyzed the legislative process and desperately needed legal reform.

The international community has contributed to the negative trend. Since the Hamas takeover of Gaza, foreign governments active in the region —in particular the US and EU Member States— have pursued a two-prong approach: isolate and pressure Hamas in Gaza while aiding and promoting Fatah in the West Bank. The report does not address the political decision to isolate Hamas, but it criticizes governments that have pledged US $8 billion to the Palestinian authority in the West Bank, including millions in training and aid for its security forces, for their inadequate attention to the abusive practices of those forces. The focus of outside support is clearly on strengthening the forces loyal to Abbas as a counter-weight to Hamas, despite the abuses that these forces routinely commit. On the political front, these foreign governments regularly, and correctly, condemn Hamas for its abusive behavior, but they remain silent on equally serious abuses by forces under the control of their ally in the West Bank.

Aid to Hamas authorities in Gaza is a similar concern, although little is known about how much is given and by whom. According to US, Israeli and Fatah officials, Hamas receives aid from Syria and Iran. If these countries do support the Gaza security forces, then to avoid complicity they should condition their aid on concrete and verifiable steps to reduce the serious human rights violations documented in this report. Governments that support Hamas politically should publicly condemn the movement’s abuses and press it to enact reform. […]

30 Xullo 2008 - Posted by | Human Rights, Human Rights Watch, Israel, Palestine, Politics

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