Palestinian Disability and Human Rights Groups Welcome the List of Issues Report of the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities on Israel

The Palestinian Disability Coalition, Al-Haq, Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association, and the Center for Defense of Liberties and Civil Rights “Hurryyat” welcome the United Nations (UN) Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities’ (CRPD or ‘the Committee’) List of Issues on Israel, published on 17 September 2020, which highlighted Israeli policies and practices of the obligations of Israel, the Occupying Power, under the Convention towards persons with disabilities in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. 

Ahead of the adoption of the List of Issues, our orgnisations submitted a joint parallel report to the Committee on 24 July 2020, which details and examines the Israeli occupying authorities’ widespread and systematic human rights violations targeting the Palestinian people, including Palestinians with disabilities, in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. In a joint statement to the Committee on 7 September 2020, and a bilateral meeting with two experts from the Committee on 15 September 2020, the organisations reasserted that the Palestinian disability rights must be understood within the broader context of Israel’s institutionalised oppression and domination and apartheid regime over the indigenous Palestinian people as a whole, highlighting some of Israel’s policies, including its excessive use of force. 

In line with our calls, the Committee adopted a number of important list of issues recognising Israel’s systematic violations against Palestinians with disabilities, calling upon Israel to provide information on “measures taken to fulfil the obligations of the State Party under the Convention towards persons with disabilities in the Occupied Palestinian Territory,” and to provide information on “complaint and investigation mechanisms, remedies and reparations, including compensation for persons with disabilities, in cases of violation of their rights, including in the context of military operations conducted in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.”  

More specifically, the Committee further urged Israel to provide information on the situation that Palestinian prisoners with disabilities endure in Israeli detention centres, including on the measures taken to ensure access to health careand rehabilitation in detention settings, the visiting regime, the provision of reasonable accommodation, access to legal support in detention centres. Further, the Committee asked the State Party to provide information about the complaint and redress mechanisms for Palestinian persons with disabilities, in cases of ill-treatment and torture during all forms of detention, including during interrogations, and in psychiatric hospitals. 

Addressing Israel’s fragmentation of the Palestinian people, the Committee further called on Israel to address the implications of Israel’s permit regime on Palestinians with disabilities and provide information on the measures taken to ensure their liberty of movement for education, medical care, rehabilitation, work or other purposes. On that note, the Committee highlighted, specifically, the situation in Gaza. Being under an unlawful closure for 13 years, Gaza’s health sector, among other sectors, was unable to develop in line with the needs of its two million population. As such, the Committee required information on the availability and access by Palestinians with disabilities in to health care services, including treatment of injuries in the Gaza Strip, as it has called on Israel to deliver the measures it has taken to ensure the protection and safety of Palestinians with disabilities in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and their freedom of movement, access to humanitarian assistance, and to services and goods in the community, including water supply, electricity, health care, education, rehabilitation, housing, and work and employment, particularly in the Gaza Strip.

In light of the above, our organisations welcome the Committee’s List of Issues report in relation to Israel’s initial report and we reiterate the need for justice and accountability, including at the International Criminal Court, for widespread and systematic human rights violations, and alleged international crimes, including the crime against humanity of apartheid, against the Palestinian people, including persons with disabilities.