UN Action

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As part of its international advocacy, Addameer lobbies various bodies of the United Nations to ask them to intervene to hold Israel accountable and pressure it to change its policies and practices. In this context, Addameer advocates both on specific cases of individual prisoners, notably by submitting individual complaints to the special procedures of the UN Human Rights Council, and on broader issues around Israeli detention. The latter is achieved by submitting information and reports to the UN Treaty Bodies ahead of their periodic examination of Israel and other UN-mandated bodies, such as the UN Fact-Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict, and participating in relevant UN conferences and meetings, particularly sessions of the Human Rights Council.

Click here for a list of the complaints submitted by Addameer on behalf of prisoners (complaints submitted to UN Special Procedures on behalf of individual prisoners are confidential and can therefore not be published in full).

Click here to view an appeal produced by multiple Special Rapporteurs to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights on the arbitrary detention, acts of intimidation and death threats against Human Rights Defender Issa Amro. 

Addameer participation in UN conferences and meetings on human rights:

  • Addameer participated in the 57th session of the Committee Against Torture, held at the United Nations in Geneva on 2-4 May 2016. Addameer delivered a statement pertaining to the use of administrative detention as a policy practiced by Israeli forces in which Palestinians are held indefinitely with no charge or trial. Addameer has argued that administrative detention must be considered as a form of psychological torture due to lack of fair trial guarantees, as well as its indefinite nature, where orders can be renewed every six months with no upper limit. As a result, the detainee may develop severe depression, anxiety, paralyzed personality and dysfunctional cognitive due to not knowing the reason behind the detention and is denied access to the secret evidence. The Commitee concluded its findings and released its observations on 13 May 2016, which can be found here


  • Between 28 February and 11 March 2011, Addameer's International Advocacy Officer attended the Human Rights Council’s (HRC) 16th session in Geneva, Switzerland. The officer held a number of lobbying meetings with the HRC’s special procedures to which it regularly submits individual complaints – the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD), the Special Rapporteur on Torture and the Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders – in order to follow up on these cases and emphasize the need for these experts to continue paying attention to the issue of the Palestinian political prisoners in their work. In addition to these meetings, Addameer’s advocacy officer also made a statement before the Council during the consideration of the WGAD’s annual report, requesting the WGAD to visit Israel and the oPt as soon as possible. Following the session, the chairman of the WGAD informed Addameer that the WGAD has decided to submit an official request to visit Israel and the oPt. Finally, Addameer organized an event on female Palestinian political prisoners on the sidelines of the HRC on 8 March to mark international women’s day. The event included a screening of an interview with Majda Fidda, a former administrative detainee, and presentations by Addameer and Soha Bishara, a former Lebanese prisoner.


  • One of Addameer's main achievements during 2009 on this level was its active participation and contribution in the international investigation of the 2008-2009 Israeli assault on Gaza. Soon after the announcement that the UN Human Rights Council had established a fact-finding mission headed by Justice Goldstone, the Secretariat of this mission contacted Addameer and asked for information on violations against detainees that took place during the assault on Gaza. Addameer provided the Committee with information on the Israeli use of detainees as human shields during the 23-day aggression; the Fact-Finding Mission later interviewed those victims when it visited Gaza. In July 2009, Addameer also provided testimony before the Fact-Finding Mission in a closed session in Amman and in an open session in Geneva. That testimony included a comprehensive background on the issue of Palestinian detainees and prisoners and the Israeli court system, violations of international law perpetrated against Palestinian prisoners, and racist Israeli policies of Israel that affect Palestinians. In its final report issued in September 2009, the Fact-Finding Mission included a full chapter on prisoners and detainees, relying in large part on information provided by Addameer. Moreover, in the report, the Fact-Finding Mission called on Israel to end its human rights violations against prisoners and detainees and called for their release.

Addameer reports and submissions to UN treaty bodies, Special Procedures and other actors:

  • In a joint statement with Lawyers for Palestinian Human Rights, the Palestinian Human Rights Organization and the National Lawyers Guild, a complaint was submitted to the United Nations Special Rapportuer on the situation of Human Rights Defenders on 23 June 2016. The statement can be found here.


  • In a joint public statement with Lawyers for Palestinian Human Rights, Adameer submitted a complaint to the United Nations concerning the continuous administrative detention of Mr. Eteraf Al-Rimawi on 15 February 2016. The statement can be found here.


  • Addameer drafted a section on Palestinian female political prisoners, including recommendations, which was submitted as part of WCLAC’s Alternative Report for Consideration of of Israel’s Fifth Periodic Report to the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women, 17 January-4 February 2011.


  • Addameer drafted a section on family visitation rights of Palestinian prisoners held in Israel for Al-Haq and WCLAC's Alternative Report on Israel to the Pre-Sessional Working Group of the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, 22-26 November 2010.


  • Between June 2009 and February 2010, Israeli authorities arrested over 70 Palestinians involved in anti-Wall protests in the villages of Bil’in and Ni’lin, west of Ramallah, as part of its broader campaign of repression against human rights defenders and activists working against the occupation. Mohammed Othman and Jamal Juma', two prominent human rights defenders involved in the Grassroots Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign (Stop the Wall), were both arrested in late 2009, promping Addameer, Stop the Wall and the National Lawyer's Guild to submit a joint submission on their behalf on 4 February 2010to six special procedures of the UN Human Rights Council. In January 2010, Addameer had submitted individual complaints on behalf of the two activists to the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders.


  • In July 2009, Addameer submitted a shadow report on the occasion of the UN Human Rights Committee's examination of Israel's third periodic report. Israel has consistently maintained that its obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR or the Covenant) do not apply to areas that are not subject to its sovereign territory and jurisdiction, i.e., to the oPt.However, violations of human rights recognized and protected by the Covenant by Israel in the OPT are wide ranging and ongoing. Addameer's report presents evidence to this effect, focusing on issues under the Covenant related to detention, the prison system and criminal justice, and provides suggested questions for the Committee to pose to Israel.


  • In June 2009, Addameer submitted a report to the UN Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges regarding Israel's military court system and its fundamental violations of minimum fair trial standards. The report looks at the process of arrest and detention, the composition, procedure and jurisdiction of the Israeli military court system, and Israel's use of administrative detention and analyzes these questions in the framework of international law.


  • In December 2008, Addameer submitted a report to the UN Special Rapporteur on education regarding the right of Palestinian political prisoners to education inside Israeli prisons. The report focuses on the right of Palestinian child prisoners to pursue their education inside prisons, as well as the right of Palestinian adult prisoners to pursue university education inside prison, comparing their treatment to that of Israeli criminal prisoners.


  • On 4 December 2008, Israel underwent the Universal Periodic Review (UPR), a new and unique human rights mechanism of the UN Human Rights Council aiming at improving the human rights situation on the ground of each of the 192 UN Member States. Under this mechanism, the human rights situation of all UN Member States is reviewed every 4 years (48 States are reviewed each year during three UPR sessions dedicated to 16 States each). As part of the review process, NGOs can send submissions to the Office of the High Commissioner before the review; lobby members of the UPR Working Group; and monitor the implementation by the State under Review of UPR recommendations. In this context, Addameer submitted a report on Israel's administration of justice and rule of law with regard to Palestinian prisoners ahead of the review in July 2008. In August 2011, Addameer also submited an update on Israel's implementation of the recommendations formulated by the UN Working Group after the review.