WILPF’s recommendations for the second Universal Periodic Review of Israel

10 February 2013

Arms trade

Poorly regulated or irresponsible arms transfers have a destabilizing effect on conflict regions. The proliferation of small arms and light weapons (SALW) and other conventional weapons fuels armed conflict, facilitates armed groups, and promotes sexual violence and insecurity. It also compromises women’s capacity to participate to public life. The overaccumulation of conventional weapons can lead to increased regional tensions and violations of human rights or international humanitarian law. The Arms Trade Treaty aims to regulate the international trade in conventional arms. It specifically prevents the supply of arms to those who are violating human rights or international humanitarian law.

Therefore, WILPF suggests the following recommendations for the UPR of Israel:

  • Sign, ratify, and implement the Arms Trade Treaty.
  • Ensure that the import of arms is not used to commit or facilitate a violation of international humanitarian law or human rights, including acts of gender-based violence.
Violations of freedom of movement

Palestinians are subjected to human rights violations including confiscation of their land, denial of construction permits, denial of family reunification and withdrawal of identity cards. The control and restrictions imposed by Israel on Palestinian people violates their freedom of movement, which is an essential human right. Military checkpoints and the separation wall limits free movement. In the West Bank, Palestinian need to hold special permits in order to work, study or receive medical care in East Jerusalem.

Therefore, WILPF suggests the following recommendation for the UPR of Israel:

  • Put an end to the violations of the freedom of movement of Palestinians by the Israeli occupying forces, which affects the life of Palestinian women and hinders their capacity to fully participate in public life.
Palestinian political prisoners

Palestinian political prisoners face a relentless and systematic policy of mass detention and imprisonment used as effective tools to suppress the Palestinian population. Since 1967, more than 800 000 Palestinians have been detained in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT). There are currently almost 5,000 Palestinian political prisoners, including 15 women and 238 children. From 1 January 2007 to 28 April 2013, 1,493 Palestinian inmates were held in isolation. As of February 2013, Israel held 169 Palestinians in administrative detention.

Palestinian political prisoners are regularly subjected to violations under international law and human rights law including torture. Indeed, as highlighted by the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, isolation or solitary confinement can result in torture. Moreover, Israeli authorities regularly neglect their duties to provide medical care and education for Palestinian prisoners, as required by the Geneva Conventions 1949 and General Assembly resolution 45/111 on the basic principles for the treatment of prisoners. Treatment is often inadequate and considerably delayed.

Therefore, WILPF suggests the following recommendations for the UPR of Israel:

  • Ensure the unconditional release of Palestinian political prisoners, especially children and sick prisoners.
  • End the torture, including prolonged isolation, of all prisoners and the practice of excessive administrative detention in its current form as mandated by Article 9 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
  • Ensure the right to adequate medical care and the right to education for Palestinian political prisoners in compliance with obligations under international human rights law and humanitarian law.
Nuclear weapons programme

The possession, deployment and potential use of nuclear weapons have fundamental implications for human rights, within Israel and internationally. Israel’s policy of neither confirming nor denying its possession of nuclear weapons obfuscates but does not entirely conceal the implicit threat of use associated with any possession of nuclear weapons.

Any use of nuclear weapons by accident or design would result in catastrophic humanitarian and environmental destruction. In addition to massive direct and indiscriminate civilian casualties, recent studies indicate that a relatively limited regional war involving nuclear weapons would cause widespread famine, affecting billions of people around the world and resulting in mass starvation, epidemics, and a humanitarian catastrophe. It is WILPF’s submission that the risks attached to the development, maintenance, deployment, possession, and use of nuclear weapons violates human rights.

Israel is estimated to possess 100–200 nuclear warheads. It is assumed that Israel has a triad of delivery vehicles: land, air, and sea. The Israeli Atomic Energy Commission is however extremely secretive. All factual information about its operations, including budget, organisational structure, relations with other military and defence organisations, and parliamentary oversight, is classified.

Therefore, WILPF suggests the following recommendations for the UPR of Israel:

  • Increase transparency around its nuclear weapons programme.
  • Stop investments in nuclear weapons and redirect those resources to promoting human rights and socioeconomic justice.
  • Support and engage constructively in efforts to develop a zone free of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East
  • Undertake efforts for nuclear disarmament including negotiations with other nuclear- armed states.
Explosive weapons

In 2012, AOAV recorded 50 incidents where explosive weapons killed or injured children in Gaza. At least 140 children were killed or injured in these attacks.1 In November 2012, 119 children were killed and injured by explosive weapons in a two weeks period. AOAV further recorded 469 civilian casualties from explosive weapons in the Gaza strip over this period, meaning that nearly one in four civilian casualties were children.2

The people of Gaza do not only suffer as direct casualties of explosive weapons, but also face several indirect effects of explosive violence. A study following shelling in Gaza in 2000 found that 33% of the children surveyed showed a severe level of post-traumatic stress disorder.3 Secondly, this is reflected in the damage and destruction of homes, schools, streets and other public facilities in Israel and Gaza, which have gravely affected the population and deprived them of their basic rights.

Therefore, WILPF suggests the following recommendation for the UPR of Israel:

  • Develop policies that will effectively protect the population from being harmed by the use of any type of explosive weapons in populated areas, including investigating and prosecuting such use of explosive weapons and providing redress and assistance to victims of explosive weapons

Contact us:

María Muñoz Maraver: mmunoz(a)wilpf.ch or rights(a)wilpf.ch