Since 2005, DCAF has been actively engaged with the Palestinian security forces, executive institutions, and civil society to promote accountability and compliance with human rights. In July 2015, it held a set of workshops and discussion forums on the topic, and presented the results to President Mahmoud Abbas and his Legal Advisor, Hasan Al-Ouri. The discussions and workshops aimed at covering the entire security sector, including representatives of the President’s Office, the President’s General Inspectorate, the Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the High Judicial Council, the security forces (Civil Police, Preventive Security, Military Justice, Military Intelligence and General Intelligence) and civil society.
These discussions reiterated the idea of Palestine signing the OPCAT, as this optional protocol outlines clear and practical steps for implementing the Convention Against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (UNCAT), to which Palestine is a signatory. The representatives also noted that signing the OPCAT:
- gives credence to Palestine’s commitment to good governance and human rights, including its commitment made to the United Nations on combatting torture;
- helps Palestine implementing UNCAT, by outlining clear methods for doing so;
- addresses the gap between civil society and the security forces by setting up a national prevention mechanism;
- strengthens Palestine’s position in the international treaty system; and
- enhances Palestine’s reputation as a moral and accountable state.
DCAF is available to support Palestinian efforts to carry out the recommendations, and assist the implementation of the OPCAT.