The Public Committee Against Torture in Israel (PCATI) is a human rights organization that has been active since 1990 in the struggle to eliminate torture in Israel. We defend victims injured during interrogations, demonstrations, detention, imprisonment, and more; and represent Israelis, Palestinians, refugees, and migrants who have undergone torture or inhuman, cruel or degrading treatment by the Israeli authorities: The Israel Security Agency (ISA – “Shabak”), the Israel Police, the Israel Prison Service (IPS), the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), etc. The staff and volunteers at PCATI believe that torture and abuse of any kind, in any situation, are incompatible with moral values, democracy, and the rule of law. Our vision is an Israel free of torture and abuse where people who have suffered physical and psychological injury receive recognition and justice.
The struggle against torture is a global cause, and PCATI stands in solidarity with the network of organizations struggling against torture around the world. PCATI adopts the provisions of the 1991 UN Convention against Torture as a binding standard in international law for defining the crime of torture and the obligation incumbent on member states to the Convention to prevent torture in their territory, to investigate complaints of torture, to protect victims, and to promote their rehabilitation. PCATI urges the State of Israel to ensure the full implementation of the provisions of the Convention, which it signed over 30 years ago; at present, Israel does not implement most of these provisions.
In the local context, we recognize and emphasize the connection between the ongoing Israeli occupation of the Palestinian Territories in the West Bank and Gaza Strip and the use of torture in Israel and in the Territories. Firstly, torture is used as a means to perpetuate the violent oppression of a civil population subject to occupation; secondly, the Palestinians in the Territories are subjugated to a military legal system that does not provide proper procedural safeguards for detainees and interrogees, thereby enabling and facilitating the use of torture; and thirdly, the harmful practices used by the Israeli security services against Palestinians in the Territories also gradually trickle into the conduct of security authorities toward residents and citizens of Israel itself, particularly in the case of minority groups within Israeli society. For all these reasons, we regard the struggle against the occupation as an inseparable part of the struggle against torture.