EU-Israel Talks: Israel must honour human rights commitments

EU Must Demand That Israel Honours Its Human Rights Commitments

Brussels (18 October, 2002) In an open letter to the Danish EU Presidency, Amnesty international calls on the EU to go beyond the ritual voicing of concern and take concrete steps to implement the human rights provisions of the Association Agreement with Israel.

EU leaders will meet with their Israeli counterparts at the EU-Israel Association Council in Luxembourg on Monday (21 October) on the sidelines of the EU Foreign Ministers meeting.

“The EU should lay down concrete and measurable benchmarks for action to be taken by Israel within a clearly defined time frame and to be evaluated before any decision on other measures is taken in the framework of the Association Agreement,” urged Dick Oosting, Director of Amnesty International’s EU Office.

Amnesty International believes one of the most important steps would be the sending of international human rights monitors to Israel and the Occupied Territories, a measure previously encouraged by the EU but opposed by the Israeli government. This move could save Israeli and Palestinian lives and should again be one of the concrete demands of the EU at this Association Council meeting.

“Unless the EU takes the necessary measures to ensure compliance by Israel with its obligations under the Association Agreement, the credibility of the EU’s human rights commitment in the region will be further damaged,” said Dick Oosting.

Amnesty International has shown through a number of recent reports, including one released only two weeks ago: Killing the Future: Children in the Line of Fire (available see link at end of page) that since the last Association Council Meeting in November 2001, the human rights situation in Israel and the Occupied Territories has continued to deteriorate.

The number of Palestinians killed by the Israeli Defence Force (IDF) since the beginning of the intifada two years ago is now more than 1,700. Scores of Palestinians have also been killed by Israeli settlers. In the same period, more than 600 Israelis have been killed by Palestinian armed groups, including nearly 400 civilians.

“The EU’s continued engagement in diplomatic initiatives to address the crisis in Israel and the Occupied Territories should not mute EU calls that Israel fulfill its human rights obligations under Article 2 of the Association Agreement,” said Dick Oosting.

“To the contrary, Amnesty International holds that the concern to restore respect for human rights for Palestinians and Israelis must be placed at the heart of any EU effort in order to contribute to a viable peace.”

Click here to link to the Amnesty International document “Killing the Future: Children in the Line of Fire” (AI index MDE 002/005/2002).

For further comment/background and interviews:
Amnesty International EU Office (Brussels):
Tel: +32-2-5021499
Fax: +32-2-5025686
[email protected]