UN committee led by Lankan envoy finds Israeli security forces used force

JerusalemA United Nations human rights committee headed by Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative to the UN in New York, Israeli security forces have used disproportionate force, in some instances leading to possible extra-judicial executions in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

The committee headed by Amrith Rohan Perera completed its annual evaluation of the situation affecting millions of people living in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, during which representations were made by civil society organizations, UN representatives and Palestinian officials on a wide range of issues affecting the Palestinian and Syrian people in territories occupied by Israel.

The UN Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People and Other Arabs of the Occupied Territories said in a press release that during its annual fact-finding visit to Amman, Jordan – which this year took place from 2 to 5 May 2016 – a large number of civil society organizations made representations about the escalation of violence that began in October 2015 in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, in which several Palestinians were killed during or after attacks on Israeli civilians or members of the security forces.

“Testimonies presented before the Special Committee in the form of videos, and oral and written submissions showed that in many cases the Israeli security forces have used disproportionate force, in some instances leading to possible extra-judicial executions,” the Special Committee said.

A related concern presented before the Committee is the lack of “systematic investigation into cases of apparent excessive use of force by Israeli security forces.” The Committee said that the importance of fully investigating all incidents where security forces have allegedly caused death or injury, and of holding those responsible to account was underscored.
The Committee noted that against this backdrop, and the lack of progress made on accountability in relation to the 2014 Gaza escalation, fears were expressed about what was described as “the faulty justice system” in Israel, and the dilemma faced by some non-governmental organizations on whether to approach the existing Israeli justice system, civil or military, for redress.

“Fears were also expressed that the separation of power between the judiciary and the executive was increasingly narrowing, potentially affecting the independence of the judiciary and the decisions of the courts in Israel,” the Committee said.

The Special Committee is composed of three Member States: Sri Lanka (Chair), Malaysia and Senegal. This year the Member States are represented by Amrith Rohan Perera, Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the UN in New York; Ramlan bin Ibrahim, Permanent Representative of Malaysia to the UN in New York; and Mame Baba Cisse, Permanent Representative, Permanent Mission of Senegal to the UN in Geneva. (Colombo Gazette)


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