- Published on Sunday, 08 July 2012 02:41
On Sunday 8th July José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission, will inaugurate the training centre of the Palestinian security forces in Jericho, funded by the EU. As part of a visit to the PA and the Israeli government, Barroso will further cement the relationship between the PA security forces and the European Union, and specifically the European Union Co-ordinating Office for Palestinian Police Support (EUPOL COPPS), who are responsible for the training and equiping of the PA police.
Barroso will also sign a financing agreement worth 20 million Euros, ostensibly for Human Rights training for police officers.
Saturday 30th June and Sunday 1st July witnessed unprecedented violence by the PA police against unarmed demonstrators in Ramallah, with at least a dozen people being hospitalised following brutal beatings by the police. At least one journalist was detained and beaten in a PA police station, with numerous thefts of cameras by PA security forces.
Barroso's participation in this event, as well as the continuation of European Union funding for the PA security forces, raise serious questions about the continued relationship between the EU and the PA police.
We demand an independent and fully transparent investigation into the events of the last week, as well as full disclosure relating to the relationships, financial and otherwise, between the various Palestinian security forces and the EUPOL COPPS. Without a full understanding of cooperation between the PA and EUPOL COPPS, and what lead to the apparent failure of all parties in respecting or ensuring respect of human rights in the PA police forces, it will be impossible for Palestinians to trust in the impartiality of the PA security forces.
Jamal Juma', coordinator of the Stop the Wall Campaign states:
"It is important to recognise that a commitment to respect human rights cannot be achieved by flooding the PA security coffers with foreign aid, and providing training for those already recognised as having committed violations. On the contrary, we demand accountability for those responsible over the human rights abuses and that such funding only come once the PA security forces and the EUPOL COPPS have concluded full, transparent and independent investigations and amended procedures and operations in a way that can effectively guarantee respect for human rights.
It is the responsibility of the governments of Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Germany, UK and Canada, who funded the new training centre, as well as all other EU contributors to the PA security forces, to implement and demand such enquiries into police brutality, especially as many members of the security forces have already received EU funded human rights training.
The violence of 30th June and 1st July, during which the PA security forces used EUPOL COPPS batons to beat unarmed protesters, must spell an end to EU cooperation with those who blatantly violate human rights, until such a time as independent human rights organisations and lawyers are satisfied that there can be accountability and an independent police ombudsman to oversee the work of the PA security forces. Further funding without accountability discredits among the Palestinian people any claims of the EU to promote democracy, human rights and international law. Barroso should cancel his visit, lest he signal to the Palestinian people that he does not care for their human rights, but instead wishes a compliant population living under occupation."