Since the beginning of the Oslo Peace Process Israel has consolidated its policy of closure introduced in 1991 and has imposed a strict siege on the Occupied Palestinian Territories preventing everybody from moving freely, including workers, student and medical patients. Furthermore the closures are inflicting severe damage to local businesses and their trade relations. As a result, the Palestinian economy has suffered great losses, unemployment numbers have risen dramatically and so have the number of Palestinians living below the international poverty line. The closure policy is a violation of Article 33 under the Fourth Geneva Convention as well as several Articles of the UN International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the UN International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. In addition, the UN Committee Against Torture has found, that the Israeli government's closure policy "may, in certain instances, amount to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment" in violation of Article 16 of the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment[1].

 

 

The Fourth Geneva Convention

 

Art. 33. No protected person may be punished for an offence he or she has not personally committed. Collective penalties and likewise all measures of intimidation or of terrorism are prohibited.

Pillage is prohibited.

Reprisals against protected persons and their property are prohibited.

 

 

UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment

 

Article 16

1. Each State Party shall undertake to prevent in any territory under its jurisdiction other acts of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment which do not amount to torture as defined in article 1, when such acts are committed by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity. In particular, the obligations contained in article 10, 11, 12 and 13 shall apply with the substitution for references to torture of references to other forms of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

 

2. The provisions of this Convention are without prejudice to the provisions of any other international instrument or national law which relates to extradition or expulsion.

 

 

International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights

 

Article 1

1. All people have the right of self-determination. By virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development.

 

2. All peoples may, for their own ends, freely dispose of their natural wealth and resources without prejudice to any obligations arising out of international economic co-operation, based upon the principle of mutual benefit, and international law. In no case may a people be deprived of its own means of subsistence.

 

3. The States Parties to the present Covenant, including those having responsibility for the administration of Non-Self-Governing and Trust Territories, shall promote the realization of the right of self-determination, and shall respect that right, in conformity with the provisions of the Charter of the United Nations.

 

Article 12

1. Everyone lawfully within the territory of a State shall, within that territory, have the right to liberty of movement and freedom to choose his residence.

 

2. Everyone shall be free to leave any country, including his own country.

 

3. The above mentioned rights shall not be subject to any restrictions except those which are provided by law, are necessary to protect national security, public order (ordre public), public health or morals or the rights and freedoms of others, and are consistent with the other rights recognized in the present Covenant.

 

4. No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of the right to enter his own country.

  

International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights

 

Article 6

1. The State Parties to the Present Covenant recognize the right to work, which includes the right of everyone to the opportunity to gain his living by work which he freely chooses or accepts, and will take appropriate steps to safeguard this right.

 

2. The steps to be taken by a State Party to the present Covenant to achieve the full realization of this right shall include technical and vocational guidance and training programmes, policies and techniques to achieve steady economic, social and cultural development and full and productive employment under conditions safeguarding fundamental political and economic freedoms to the individual.

 

Article 11

1. The States Parties to the present Covenant recognize the right of everyone to an adequate standard of living for himself and his family, including adequate food, clothing and housing, and to the continuous improvement of living standards. The States Parties will take appropriate steps to ensure the realization of this right, recognizing to this effect the essential importance of international co-operation based on free consent.

 

Article 13

1. The States Parties to the present Covenant recognize the right of everyone to education. They agree that education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and the sense of its dignity, and shall strengthen the respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. They further agree that education shall enable all persons to participate effectively in a free society, promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations and all racial, ethnic or religious groups, and further the activities of the United Nations for the maintenance of peace.

 

Article 15

1. The States Parties to the present Covenant recognize the right of everyone:

(a) To take part in cultural life;

 


 


[1] Our underlining.


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