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PCATI present shadow report to the UN Committee Against Torture
 
Earlier this month Israel presented its report to the UN Committee Against Torture (CAT). The Committee invites the representatives of the State to Geneva every few years to examine the implementation of the Convention Against Torture in Israel. The representatives of the Committee, which is comprised of ten unaffiliated experts, review the report of the State and examine the ways in which the current situation in Israel reflects the absolute prohibition on torture according to the Convention and international law.

In anticipation of the State's appearance before the Committee, PCATI submitted its own shadow report to the UN CAT, shedding light on the full picture of torture and ill-treatment current in Israel at the moment. PCATI's Legal Director, Adv. Efrat Bergman-Sapir, flew to Geneva and was present in the sessions.

The shadow report helped the UN representatives ask the state precise and pointed questions regarding the lack of a law criminalizing torture, the use of the so-called "necessity defense", the absence of criminal prosecutions against alleged torturers, the use of torture positions, the use of solitary confinement, lack of access to sanitary products for women, and other important issues.

The state reported to the Committee that the Ministry of Justice is formulating a draft law criminalizing torture. We welcome this step, and will work to ensure that this law will indeed ban absolutely torture of any human being, with no reservations or exceptions. More information about the state's announcement can be seen here in the Haaretz headline; our opinion on the issue can be read here.

 
Professional Workshop on the Istanbul Protocol

In April PCATI held a professional workshop on the Istanbul Protocol – the internationally recognized manual for identifying and documenting torture -  in Tel Aviv. The participants were lawyers, health- and mental-health professionals, who had taken part in previous trainings on documenting torture held by PCATI.

The workshop focused on detention conditions: their importance and their effect on torture survivors, both Palestinians and from the refugee communities resident in Israel. The workshop was developed with volunteers in PCATI's legal-medical team, and was attended by 27 professionals: 12 mental health professionals, 7 physicians, and 8 legal professionals.
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