Amnesty International: Israel frequently uses excessive force against Palestinians (HA´ARETZ NEWS) By Haaretz and DPA 05/24/12)
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Amnesty International annual report 2012, was released on Wednesday,
detailing the violation of human rights worldwide.
The report is highly critical of Israeli policies towards the
Palestinians. Charging that IDF frequently used excessive, sometimes
lethal force against demonstrators in the West Bank and civilians in
Gaza. All together the IDF killed 55 civilians in the West Bank and
Gaza, including 11 children, the report said.
The report charges that Israeli authorities were prolonging the
humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip with the continued
implementation of blockade. The report also criticizes Israel for
restricting the movement of Palestinians in the West Bank.
The construction of the security fence/wall is also mentioned as a
source of grievance as it is mostly constructed on Palestinian land
and in many cases serves to annex land to settlements in breach of
The report states that Israel has engaged in the demolition of
Palestinian homes and other facilities in the West Bank, as well is
inside Israel itself where homes of Palestinian citizens are
destroyed in "unrecognized” villages in the Negev desert.
According to the report Israel often fails to bring Israelis that
attack Palestinians to justice. Amnesty says three Palestinians were
killed by settlers during the past year.
The report goes on to criticize Israel´s policy regarding the
imprisonment of Palestinians. Thousands of Palestinians are held in
Israeli prisons with more than 307 being administrative detainees
held without charge or trial; others received prison terms following
military trials. Israel held more than 4,200 Palestinian prisoners at
the end of 2011. The report cites reports of torture and other ill-
treatment of detainees.
2011 "watershed" for human rights
Elsewhere in the world, the report, which surveyed the state of human
rights in 155 countries, said there was a "compelling case" for the
situation in Syria to be referred to the International Criminal Court
for investigations of crimes against humanity.
It documents specific restrictions on free speech in at least 91 of
the countries, and says that torture and ill treatment continues in
at least 101 countries around the world.
Amnesty singled out Azerbaijan, the country hosting the Eurovision
song contest, for particular criticism, calling for the release of 16
prisoners of conscience who were behind bars "for raising their
voices" in 2011.
There was also "no sign of significant change" in countries such as
Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, said the Amnesty report.
In sub-Saharan Africa, where the protests movements of the Arab
Spring had "resonated strongly" with people, "excessive force" was
used against protestors in countries from Angola to Senegal and
Social protest gathered strength in the Americas, where demonstrators
had clashed with "powerful economic and political interests."
Activists were threatened and killed in countries including Brazil,
Colombia and Mexico, said the Amnesty report.
In 2011, China was among countries which "threw the full weight of
their security apparatus into the suffocation of protest," stated the
Fearful of a protest movement inspired by events in the Middle East
and North Africa, authorities in China unleashed one of the harshest
crackdowns since the 1989 Tiananmen Square demonstrations, Amnesty
said. (© Copyright 2012 Ha´aretz 05/24/12)
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