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Establishing an oversight body in Palestine to prevent torture

Graphic: People take part in seminar discussions

Participants from across West Asia have shared their expertise on the key steps involved in establishing a national preventive mechanism for Palestine

Participants from Palestine and across West Asia have contributed to two-day seminar that explored the key steps involved in establishing an independent body to prevent torture in places of detention across Gaza and the West Bank.

The regional seminar, held in Amman, Jordan from 31 July–1 August 2018, was organised by the Palestine Independent Commission for Human Rights (ICHR), in cooperation with Penal Reform International Middle East and North Africa Regional Office (PRI-MENA).

One of the key obligations on a State when it ratifies the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture (OPCAT) is that it establish an independent monitoring body, known as a national preventive mechanism (NPM).

Participants recommended that a Law on the NPM be enacted in Palestine within the first year of the State of Palestine signing OPCAT. This proposed Law should:

  • Ensure the independence of the NPM
  • Allocate adequate resources to enable the NPM to function effectively
  • Ensure gender equality among the NPM's membership
  • Provide for unrestricted visits to detention centres, protection of witnesses and whistle-blowers and other standards set by the OPCAT
  • Require the Ministry of Interior (MoI) and any agencies with the power to detain persons to cooperate with the NPM, including interviews with detained persons and unrestricted access to records.

Graphic: People take part in seminar discussions


National consultations will be held to develop an NPM model that meets the international standards set out in OPCAT and is appropriate to the Palestinian context.

A strategy should be developed to introduce NPM and its functions to all state personnel, particularly to those associated with detention centres.

Training should also be provided to detention centre staff to ensure there is an adequate understanding of the role and powers of the NPM.

The seminar brought together representatives of the MoI, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Social Development, security agencies, police force, Military Medical Services Department, Public Prosecution, Palestinian Human Rights Organisations Council, Palestinian Non-Governmental Organisations Network and Palestinian Bar Association.

Experts from several Arab and international organisations, including the UN Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture, also attended the seminar, as well as representatives of the national human rights institutions in Iraq and Jordan.

Date: 17 August 2018

Source: Palestine Independent Commission for Human Rights


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  1. People take part in seminar discussions - Palestine Independent Commission on Human Rights
  2. People take part in seminar discussions - Palestine Independent Commission on Human Rights