Ramallah/ The Center for Defense of Liberties and Civil Rights (Hurryyat) along with the Independent Commission for Human Rights (ICHR) have organized a meeting introducing the concept of shadow reporting. The meeting comes in light of Palestine’s initial report submission under the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT), and highlights the importance of the role the civil society institutions (CSI) play in submitting alternative or shadow reports monitoring and clarifying cases of torture and mistreatment. The meeting aimed at enabling the participating organizations to write these parallel reports in accordance with the measures recognized internationally.
Hurryyat Executive Director Mr. Helmi Araj stressed the importance of Palestine’s accession to international conventions concerned with human rights and the international humanitarian law, particularly the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, and the CAT. Attorney Musa Abu Dheim, Head of ICHR West Bank program, also pointed to the importance of such a meeting for the work and responsibilities of civil society institutions in shadow reporting.
Attorney Rizeq Shuqair, legal counsel of Hurryyat, indicated the resultant responsibilities facing the State of Palestine concerning the adaptation of legislatives, and the challenges facing Palestine as a State under occupation limiting it from fulfilling its responsibilities. On his part, Mr. Khader Sarsar, Executive Director of the Treatment and Rehabilitation Center for Victims of Torture (TRC), called against undermining the significance of shadow reporting and called upon the related and concerned organizations to join forces in preparing these reports. Ms. Mayada Waleed also introduced the Palestinian Coalition against Torture and stressed the significance of documenting every violation committed by torture and mistreatment.
Yasser Alawneh, a legal researcher at the Independent Commission for Human Rights (ICHR), discussed the shadow reports in their technical and procedural details. He discussed the entry into force of the conventions and their consequences upon the State of Palestine, and also discussed the submission of international reports where four initial reports are due this year for submission to the human rights treaty bodies.
Alawneh further discussed the general provisions of reporting especially those concerned with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights; the working methods of the Human Rights Committee, the consequences of not submitting the reports to the treaty bodies, and the impossibility of withdrawal from the Covenant. Moreover, he provided a sample of the questions the Committee raises concerning the reports, and provided an insight into the relations between the Human Rights Committee on the one hand, and the National Human Rights Institutions, and the Non-Governmental Organizations on the other hand.
The meeting featured several participants amongst who were representatives from the Cabinet, Birzeit University, SHAMS Human Rights and Democracy Media Center, the Jerusalem Legal Aid and Human Rights Center (JLAC), TRC, Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES), the Women’s Affairs Technical Committee, Mandela Institute, and Addameer Prisoners Support and Human Rights Association. The participants led a general discussion that examined details of shadow reporting, samples of shadow reports by other countries, and the requirements of professional shadow reporting in Palestine.