human rights in israel 2008

ACRI Gauges Israel’s Realization of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on 60th Anniversary of its Adoption
Association for Civil Rights in Israel

The full version of ACRI’s State of Human Rights Report 2008 in available at http://www.acri.org.il/pdf/state2008.pdf.

JERUSALEM – December 4, 2008 – To mark 60 years since the signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on December 10, 1948, ACRI has dedicated its annual “State of Human Rights Report” to evaluating Israel’s respect for the Declaration’s various tenets. Though the Declaration is not binding, it has served as the basis for many subsequent laws, treaties, and conventions relating to human rights the world over. As Israel’s leading human rights organization, ACRI has fought to preserve the rights of all for 36 years and boasts a long list of achievements in protecting and promoting the full spectrum of rights and liberties in Israel and the Occupied Territories. These accomplishments are detailed in the report.

Rights watchdog: After US, Israel is least egalitarian country in West
Tomer Zarchin, Haaretz, Dec 8 2008

The past year has seen a dramatic rise in the number of violent attacks perpetrated by Jewish settlers against Palestinians in the territories. Yet, only 8% of the police investigations of settler violence result in indictments. This finding is contained in a new report, published yesterday by the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI), to mark the 60th anniversary of the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The report states that in most instances of innocent civilian bystanders being killed in the territories, no investigation is opened. Also, only a small number of the cases that are investigated result in an indictment. ACRI reports that in most of Israel’s mixed towns, including Ramle, Lod, Acre, Haifa and Jaffa, Arab citizens suffer from discrimination. The infrastructure in the Arab neighborhoods is neglected, public buildings and parks are lacking, there is a poor education system, and health and welfare services are insufficient. The past decade has seen an increase in the gaps in life expectancy between Jews and Arabs and also between the center and the periphery. As such, the infant mortality rate in the periphery is double that in the country’s center. Moreover, there are fewer hospital beds and doctors as well as less medical equipment per capita in the periphery, as compared to the center.

The report asserts that, after the USA, Israel is the least egalitarian country in the West. Although there has been an increase in the state’s revenues from taxes in recent years, the government’s spending on social issues has decreased. During the past 13 years the funding of the health basket has been eroded by some 44%, while at the same time there has been a 50% increase in the rate of personal spending on health, as part of the total public and private expenditure. The report also found that the economic situation of people with handicaps in Israel is the worst among the Western countries. Their average income is less than 70% of those without handicaps, and, in addition, 85% of Israeli employers do not hire people with handicaps. Also, 37% of Ethiopian immigrants are employed in low-paying jobs, as compared to veteran Israelis. In addition, the report found that the privacy of an increasing number of workers is invaded through their employers’ calls for a sweeping exemption from medical confidentiality, the monitoring of phone calls and e-mail, compulsory polygraph tests and the use of surveillance cameras. Moreover, many of the Prison Service facilities violate the basic rights of detainees and prisoners, in part by excessive use of force, severe overcrowding in the jails, and poor hygienic and sanitary conditions.

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