This morning was the third Universal Periodic Review of Israel at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. The UK was one of a number of states that participated in a dialogue with Israel on its human rights record.
The UK’s statement to Israel this morning includes three principled and meaningful recommendations. They importantly address the critical issues of Israel’s systemic mistreatment of Palestinian children in military detention; illegal settlements; and the linked issues of a demolitions policy and discriminatory planning permission process that severely affects Palestinians in Area C of the occupied West Bank and occupied East Jerusalem.
The statement is available here and reproduced immediately below:
“The UK welcomes Israel’s participation in the UPR and notes the positive steps taken since its last review, including Israel’s commitment in 2015 to eradicate forced labour, modern slavery and human trafficking; and the progress Israel has made on gender equality.
The UK remains concerned about children in detention in Israel. The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, to which Israel is a State Party, clearly sets out the need to grant special care and protection to children.
The UK recommends:
1) Taking action to protect child detainees, ensuring the mandatory use of audio-visual recording in interrogations with all child detainees, ending the use of painful restraints, and consistently fully informing detainees of their legal rights.
2) Taking immediate action to reverse policy on settlement expansion in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, which is illegal under international humanitarian law.
3) Taking immediate action to cease the policy of demolitions of Palestinian properties and buildings, and provide a clearly defined and transparent process for construction of properties and buildings for Palestinians in Area C of the West Bank and in East Jerusalem, in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.”
The UK’s three recommendations above are clear, substantive and extremely important. They are firmly grounded in respect of international law and the need to protect the basic human rights of Palestinians.
It is vital, however, that the UK Government fully supports these excellent recommendations with consistent and effective policy measures that encourages the Israeli Government to implement these crucial suggested reforms.