Montana Model United Nations 2001
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Commission on Human rights

TOPIC I

Israel/Palestine

Many of the abuses of human rights, which have taken place over the past years, have been carried out in the name of "peace". But the suppression of human rights has also been a catalyst in encouraging and facilitating human rights abuses by those who oppose the peace process. The failure to uphold people's basic rights feeds hatred and perpetuates abuses. All those in a position of authority must recognize that the right to life, physical and mental integrity, freedom from arbitrary detention, freedom of movement, freedom of expression and freedom from fear and want are the inalienable rights of both Israelis and Palestinians. The human rights of one individual cannot be founded on the loss of rights of another individual.

Extrajudicial executions, suicide bombings or other attacks against civilians, excessive lethal force and targeting of residential areas have violated the right to life of hundreds. The life of each individual must be protected. Torture and police brutality has been frequent both in Israel and under the jurisdiction of the Palestinian Authority. In Israel detainees have been held without charge or fair trial in administrative detention; under the Palestinian Authority hundreds have been held without charge or trial even after the Palestinian High Court of Justice has ordered their release. Such arbitrary detention has often been carried out in the name of the fight against "terrorism". All political prisoners held without charge or trial should be tried in fair trials or immediately released. In Israel the trials of Palestinians in military courts have diminished defendants' rights to fair trials. Under the Palestinian Authority the State Security Court hands down sentences in summary trials in flagrant violation of fair trial rights. Palestinian military courts have also held unfair trials. Laws and practice in Israel, the Occupied Territories and the Palestinian Authority must ensure respect for the right to fair trial as enshrined in international human rights standards.

There should be no distinction or discrimination against anyone on the grounds of ethnic origin, religion, sex or other status in the enjoyment of human rights and freedoms. Discriminatory laws and practices should be abolished including those, which have caused the destruction of Palestinian houses and property. Moreover, the past seven years have witnessed profound and flagrant denials of the right to freedom of movement. The closures are a grave human rights violation targeted against Palestinians in the Occupied Territories. The occupied territories have become a land of barriers between town and town and between village and village. Palestinian towns and villages have been cut off from the outside world for days and often weeks; trenches have been dug round Jericho and Ramallah. The great majority of the inhabitants of Gaza have been enclosed for years as though in a prison and Palestinians from the Occupied Territories are unable to enter Jerusalem without a permit. Even those seeking medical treatment have frequently been barred entry. The Israeli Government denies entry to Gaza to its own citizens. Under the Palestinian Authority critics of the authority or the peace process have been harassed, arrested and imprisoned, often without charge or trial. The Israeli authorities have restricted the movement of human rights activists and journalists have been shot at. Peaceful expression of ideas and opinions which does not constitute advocacy of violence, hatred, slander or libel should be guaranteed and any person detained solely for the expression of conscientiously held beliefs should be released immediately and unconditionally. Not to mention the freedom of women is constantly limited by discriminatory codes and practice. Equality of women should be enshrined in law and practice. Allegations of human rights abuses should be promptly, impartially and thoroughly investigated and perpetrators brought to justice in fair proceedings. The duty of the international community is to keep the pressure on these authorities until they elevate their human rights to international standards.

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