Israeli perpetrators of human rights violations against Palestinian prisoners and detainees in custody continue to enjoy impunity due to a lack of domestic legislation prohibiting torture and a lack of proper mechanisms of complaints, documentation, investigation and prosecution.
Despite a decrease in the numbers of administrative detainees, the administrative detention of Palestinians continues as a policy.
Palestinian political prisoners are still classified as “security prisoners” and separate from common law prisoners; they suffer discriminatory and harsher treatment as a result.
The Israel Prison Service (IPS) still employs healthcare workers in the Israeli prisons system, instead of the Health Ministry, thus perpetuating a situation of ‘dual loyalty’, in which medics are trapped between the interests of their employers and their duty to their patients.
This conflict of interest is expressed clearly in policies toward patients and can only end if healthcare is removed from the remit of the IPS to that of the Health Ministry.
A report published by the government-appointed Turkel Committee on 6 February 2013 pointed to some of these underlying issues, and made 18 recommendations, many of which echo those of civil society.
However the recommendations are not legally binding and to date, the government has taken few steps to implement them.
In June 2013, a civilian ombudsman of complaints against the Israeli secret police (Shin bet, Shabak, GSS or ISA) was appointed for the first time, replacing the previous ombudsman, who was a member of the Shabak, and this post was relocated to the Justice Ministry.
However, so far this has not led to the opening of criminal investigations into any of the hundreds of complaints of abuse and torture submitted over the past decade.
On the ground, no significant improvements have been recorded.
On the contrary, an unexplained death during interrogation occurred this year, and retrogressive legislation and Supreme Court rulings threaten to further restrict the rights of prisoners.
On 26 June 2013, the 25th anniversary of the Convention Against Torture, the organisations issued a joint statement outlining a general blueprint for prevention of torture and abuse of the human rights of prisoners and detainees in Israel.