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Euro Mid Observer for Human Rights: Israeli Human Rights Violations Targeting Palestinian Fishermen in the Gaza Strip

Executive Summary

In this report, Euro-Mid Observer for Human Rights documents the ongoing harassment of Gaza fishermen by the Israeli military, preventing them from plying their trade freely and safely even within the arbitrary three-nautical-mile limit imposed by Israel.

According to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and its supporting covenants, every individual has the right to life, equality before the law, freedom of expression and employment. These rights may be revoked only in cases of urgent security emergencies, and even then must be legally and objectively determined.

However, Euro-Mid and other human rights organizations have observed, and recorded through eyewitness testimonies, that from January 2011 through  April 2012, Israeli Authorities deliberately prevented Gazan fishermen from practicing their profession freely and safely in their own port. In addition to being prevented from sailing, Palestinian fishermen are frequently subjected to degrading and inhumane treatment, such as forced immersion while naked in harsh weather conditions, confiscation of their fishing boats and equipment, and arbitrary detentions with grueling
interrogations.

Many Gazan fishermen who are freed following detention report being pressured to provide “intelligence” against co-workers and neighbors under threat of harm to their relatives. Some report being tortured when they refuse to collaborate.

This report details these violations of law and human rights, as well as documents the negative effects on the fishing sector, and thus on the overall Gazan economy – including escalating poverty and unemployment.

Although Israel announced its unilateral disengagement from the Gaza Strip in 2005, it was not a total withdrawal. Rather, it was merely a redeployment of its troops and military vehicles along its border with the Strip. This situation is illustrated by Israel’s total control over the Gazan shoreline.

Euro-Mid Observer for Human Rights concludes its report with an appeal to the international community and human rights institutions around the world to take action to restore the right of Palestinian fishermen in the Gaza Strip to work freely and safely, holding Israel accountable for violating the international conventions of which is it is a signatory.

Full Report (PDF)

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