On 22 March 2024, Al-Haq, Addameer for Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association, Palestinian Centre for Human Rights, Al Mezan Center for Human Rights, and the Women’s Centre for Legal Aid and Counselling (WCLAC) sent an urgent appeal to 11 United Nations (UN) Special Procedures, and the UN Commission of Inquiry (CoI), calling on their urgent intervention in light of the alarming increase in distressing reports of torture, and other cruel, inhumane, or degrading treatment or punishment inflicted upon Palestinian prisoners and detainees by the Israeli occupying forces (IOF) since the start of the ongoing genocide against Palestinians in Gaza.

Throughout the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt), the IOF have engaged in mass arrests and enforced disappearances, leaving the fate of hundreds of Palestinians unknown to their families. The urgent appeal highlighted specific instances of documented torture and ill-treatment, including cases of sexual violence, endured by Palestinians during their time in Israeli detention and custody, providing a glimpse into the nature and severity of attacks perpetrated.

Alarmed by the fact that the Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, Ms. Alice Jill Edwards; and the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, Mr. Morris Tidball-Binz, have, as of yet, failed to address and contextualise the escalating instances of torture and ill-treatment endured by Palestinians, including those that involved sexual violence and those that have culminated to killings, the urgent appeal urged the aforementioned mandate-holders, whose silence amid the ongoing genocide have been deafening, as well as others, to:

  • Demand Israel to cease its ongoing genocide against Palestinians in Gaza, and to immediately and unconditionally allow the unimpeded access of fuel, water, food and humanitarian aid, including medical supplies, into the Gaza Strip, as mandated by the International Court of Justice;
  • Publicly condemn Israel’s torture and inhumane and degrading treatment by Israeli authorities against Palestinians and urge them to immediately cease with such practices; in line with its obligations under international law, including the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment;
  • Recognise the detention, arrest, enforced disappearance, illtreatment and torture of Palestinian residents of Gaza, as the genocidal act of “causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group”;
  • Demand Israel to release all Palestinian political prisoners, and to end its widespread and systematic use of arbitrary detention, including administrative detention, and the commission of torture and other ill-treatment against Palestinian detainees and prisoners;
  • Demand Israel and the IPS to ensure and uphold Palestinian political prisoners’ right to life and the highest attainable standard of health and mental health, and to avoid and end all forms of arbitrary, retaliatory, and collective punishment imposed against Palestinian political prisoners;
  • Demand Israel to disclose the names, locations, and details of detention of Palestinian residents of Gaza, ensure their rights are respected, including their right to legal representation, and refrain from ill-treatment and torture against them;
  • Publicly denounce and condemn Israel’s collective punishment against Palestinian workers from Gaza, and call on the Israeli authorities to release all detained workers;
  • Condemn Israel’s designation of Palestinian detainees of Gaza as ‘unlawful combatants’ in accordance with the ‘Unlawful Combatants Law’ enacted in 2002 and call on Israel to repeal the aforementioned law;
  • Recognise the institutionalised impunity towards Israel’s widespread and systematic human rights violations against Palestinians, from within Israeli judicial mechanisms, forming part and parcel of Israel’s apartheid regime of systematic racial oppression and domination over the Palestinian people as a whole;
  • Exert pressure on Israeli authorities to grant access to legal representation or visits by the ICRC for detained Palestinians, to assess the condition of Palestinian prisoners and detainees, after the violations they have endured and to investigate and disclose the conditions and whereabouts of the detained individuals to alleviate the distress of their families and ensure transparency; and
  • Carry out a country visit to investigate the crimes committed against Palestinians in Israeli detention and custody, and to examine the circumstances surrounding reported ‘deaths’ among Palestinian detainees and prisoners, due to concerns that they are attributed to torture, ill-treatment, and medical neglect, and provide a comprehensive account.