Universal Periodic Review – MEDIA BRIEF
Tuesday, 29 October 2013 (Afternoon)
(Disclaimer: The following brief is not an official record, provides a brief factual summary of the UPR Working Group meeting with the State under review, and does not cover all points addressed)
State under review
Represented by 8-member delegation headed by Mr. Eviatar MANOR, Permanent Representative of the Permanent Mission of Israel in Geneva and Mr. Shai NITZAN, Deputy Attorney General.
To access national report, compilation of UN information, and summary of stakeholders’ information, visit the Israel page on the UPR website.
Maldives, Sierra Leone, Venezuela.
Opening statement by State under review
Few points raised in the opening statement of State under review:
(See full statement on the Israel page on the UPR Extranet **)
- Israel came to its second UPR with strong reservations. The discrimination against, and the unfair treatment of, Israel continued. Item 7 still featured on the agenda of the Council and Israel was not a member of any geographical group;
- Also, in the years since the establishment of the Council, Israel had been the subject to more emergency sessions as well as more Fact-Finding Missions than any others single country in the world;
- In March 2012, Israel had suspended its relations with the Council and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. The on-going dialogue and engagement with the Council had allowed Israel to appear today. It had not been an easy decision to take but they hoped that it would go a long way to restore equality and fairness, and eventually allow their return to full activity;
- Israel had ratified in 2012 the Convention on the Rights of Peoples with Disabilities. This signified another milestone in the promotion of a disability rights agenda in Israel;
- The main challenge facing Israel was its relations with the Palestinians. Recent resumption of direct peace negotiations, headed by US Secretary of State John Kerry, was a welcome step;
- Israel had agreed to release Palestinian prisoners as a confidence building measures. A second group of prisoners was being released tonight. This illustrated Israel’s determination to reach an agreement with their Palestinian neighbours that would, once and for all, end the conflict;
- Israel had been, and continued to be, faced with serious security threats, including suicide terrorism, external hostility and indiscriminate armed attacks against its civilians;
- In 2011, the High Court of Justice had ruled that the Ministry of Education had been required to take concrete measures to promote the right to education for children in the eastern neighbourhoods of Jerusalem, in light of the lack of classrooms there;
- During 2012, several steps had been taken in order to improve and accommodate the working conditions for persons of various populations, all with the aim of making the civil service more accessible to the Arab population. 8.4 per cent of all the civil service employees were Arabs, including Bedouins, Druze and Circassians;
- Israel had established a Public Commission of Inquiry to assess whether the mechanism for examining and investigating complaints and claims raised in relation to violations of the laws of armed conflict conformed with obligations under international law. The Commission concluded that Israel complied with its obligations;
- In 2009, a Juvenile Military Court had been established to handle cases involving minors and to guarantee adequate and professional care for juveniles. It was required to give due consideration to the welfare and best interests of the child during proceedings;
- Extensive efforts were made to accommodate Palestinians observing the Muslim month of Ramadan. Hours during which crossings were open had been extended and numerous permits had been given for family visits.
In total 73States participated in the dialogue: 28 HRC members and 45 observers (Statements available on Israel page on the UPR Extranet).
Positive achievements noted by delegations included, among others:
- The re-establishment of relations with the Human Rights Council;
- The ratification of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities;
- The reduction in the use of administrative detention and release of 26 Palestinian detainees ;
- Steps to combat gender-based violence and to promote gender equality;
- Adoption of legislation to combat human trafficking, sexual exploitation and forced labour;
- Steps to guarantee the freedom of expression, assembly and the media.
Issues and Questions
Issues and questions raised by the Working Group included, among others:
- Efforts to fight against all forms of discrimination, in particular of the Arab population;
- Moves towards combating all forms of religious intolerance;
- Steps to uphold the rights of the Bedouin population;
- Measures to fully guarantee the rights of the Palestinian people, including to their self-determination;
- Israeli settlements in the Palestinian and Occupied Arab territories;
- Cooperation with UN human rights mechanisms.
States participating in the dialogue posed a series of recommendations to Israel. These pertained to the following issues, among others:
- To fully guarantee the rights of the Palestinian people, including their rights to life, dignity, food, housing, health, education and freedom of movement; To recognize and respect the right to self-determination of the Palestinian people;
- To ensure that all human rights violations in the Palestinian and Occupied Arab territories were thoroughly investigated; To completely withdraw from the Palestinian and Occupied Arab territories; To take immediate measures with a view to lifting the blockade;
- To halt the expansion of settlements in all Palestinian and Occupied Arab territories; To stop the transfer of its population to Israeli settlements in the Palestinian and Occupied Arab territories; To cooperate fully comply with the recommendations of the Fact-finding Mission on Israeli settlements established by the Human Rights Council;
- To release all political prisoners; To end the practice of administrative detention; To effectively ban torture in all its forms;
- To ensure that the detention of civilians, especially children, was carried out in accordance with international law and standards without any discrimination; To put an end to any criminal procedures against Palestinian children in military courts; To end night arrests of children;
- To intensify efforts to fight against all forms of discrimination, racism and xenophobia; To increase efforts to ensure non-discrimination, especially in the areas of access to justice, property and housing;
- To respect the rights of the Bedouin population to health, education and to their ancestral land and livelihood; to regularize the habitation in the Negev and the legitimate interest of the Bedouin community to have their fundamental rights respected;
- To ensure that all Palestinians enjoyed their cultural, religious and social rights in compliance with the Fourth Geneva Convention; To take measures to fight against acts of religious intolerance and to thoroughly investigate all cases of religious hatred, including acts of vandalism against religious sites;
- To ensure access to safe drinking water and sanitation to all those living in Palestinian and Occupied Arab territories;
- To enhance cooperation with the Human Rights Council and to cooperate with all UN Special Procedures; To extend a standing invitation to UN Special Procedures;
- To implement all UN recommendations with regard to the rights of Palestinians;
- Ratification of human rights instruments: the OPCAT, the 2nd OP to the ICCPR, the OP to the ICESCR, the 3rd OP to the CRC (communications), the Rome Statute of the ICC, the Convention on Enforced Disappearances, the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness, and the Convention on the Rights of Migrant Workers.
Adoption of report of Working Group
The adoption of the report of the UPR Working Group on Israel is scheduled to take place onFriday, 1 November 2013.
*The troikas are a group of three States selected through a drawing of lots who serve as rapporteurs and who are charged with preparing the report of the Working Group on the country review with the involvement of the State under review and assistance from the OHCHR.
**For access to the UPR Extranet, please fill out the following form to receive a username and password