UN Committee on Rights of Persons with Disabilities to Review Israel for First Time

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The UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) will hold its first periodic review of Israel. The Committee will begin its review of Israel’s compliance with the CRPD on Wednesday 23 August and continue on Thursday 24 August.

Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, together with the Al Mezan Center for Human Rights, based in occupied Gaza, and the UK-based Medical Aid for Palestinians, submitted a report to the Committee on Israel’s violations of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, with respect to Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.

The full report

About The Report

The 18-page report focuses on Israel’s unlawful conduct primarily in the context of the Great March of Return (GMR) demonstrations in the Gaza Strip. From March 2018 to March 2020, thousands of Palestinians participated in demonstrations at the separation fence in eastern Gaza and posed no genuine threat to military forces or civilians. The Israeli military killed 217 Palestinians at the protests, including nine individuals with disabilities, and wounded thousands more, disabling at least 178 protesters. The report covers four key issues:

  • Israel’s shoot-to-kill policy –

The report provides a comprehensive account of Israeli forces’ lethal attacks on peaceful protesters during the demonstrations, including against those with disabilities, amounting to gross violations of the right to life under the Convention and of international humanitarian law. These attacks may also amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity under the Rome Statute.

  • Israel’s shoot-to-maim policy against Palestinian protesters 

Based on statistics and case examples, the report concludes that Israeli forces engaged in a pattern of deliberate and systematic shooting-to-maim, as sharpshooters fired live ammunition at areas of the body where an injury, if not fatal, was certain to cause life-changing, permanent, and life-long disabilities, including amputations and severe trauma.

  • Israel’s policy of prohibiting injured persons from accessing medical treatment 

The report details the negative effects of the deficiency of medical services in Gaza as result of the ongoing occupation and closure, and of Israel’s denial of medical exit permits to injured Palestinian protesters during the Great March of Return, which led to deaths and permanent disabilities, as a punitive measure.

  • Lack of civil remedies for victims –

Finally, the report highlights that Israel has imposed a complete ban on civil remedies for Palestinian residents of Gaza, wholly shielding the State of Israel from their obligation to provide civil tort remedies to residents of Gaza, denying them access to any compensation for injuries, permanent disabilities, or other adverse effects caused by Israel’s actions in Gaza. This policy was sanctioned by the Israeli Supreme Court in the case of Attiya Fathi al-Nabaheen, a 15-year-old Palestinian boy who was shot by the Israeli military while on his family’s property — resulting in an injury that left him quadriplegic.

The organizations called on the Committee to:

  • State clearly that the Convention is applicable to Israel’s conduct both inside Israel and in the 1967 occupied Palestinian territories, including Gaza. All other UN human rights Committees have recognized this territorial applicability.
  • Affirm and endorse the recommendations put forth by the Human Rights Committee that Israel should ensure that “prompt, thorough, effective, independent, and impartial investigations are launched into all incidents involving the excessive use of force by the Israeli military forces, that perpetrators are prosecuted and, if found guilty, punished”, guaranteeing that those responsible for the injury and death of Palestinian protesters, including protected groups such as persons with disabilities, are held accountable.
  • Call upon Israel to hold those responsible for the injury and death of Palestinian protesters accountable and to review its rules of engagement and bring them into compliance with international human rights law.
  • Urge Israel to cancel the illegal medical exit permit system and allow residents of Gaza to receive medical treatment outside of Gaza and to take all necessary measures to hold accountable those who caused permanent disabilities or deaths as a result of such denials.
  • Recommend that Israel repeal the 2012 Amendment to the Civil Wrongs Law, as Israel cannot evade its liability for damages inflicted upon Palestinians in Gaza.

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