Today, 14 August 2007, Al Mezan Center issued a report on the Emergency Government's decision to suspend the salaries of 31,000 civil servants.
On 4 July 2007, the Emergency Government, which was installed in accordance with a presidential decree issued on 15 June 2007, decided to suspend the transfer of the salaries for thousands of employees on the pretext that they were appointed after 31 December 2005, when the budget of the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) had not yet been approved.
The report points out the importance of employment in the pubic sector for Palestinians.
Some 160,000 people are employed in this sector; on whom over a million people depend for living.
In 2006, the expenditure on the pubic sector's salaries corresponded to about 54% of the total annual budget of the PNA; one billion and 181 million USD.
The report reviews Palestinian relevant domestic laws, especially the Palestinian Basic Law, the Civil Service Law, the Military Service Law and other legislations which determine the rules of employment in the public sector.
Also, it refers to the Public Bureau of Employees and the legal limitations on its recruitment of civil servants.
The report provides a brief summary of the actual procedures followed by the Bureau in recruiting civil servants and concludes that they have been inconsistent with law.
This has been true since the establishment of the PNA in 1994, given the serious infringements that have been committed in this regard.
Those persisted after the formation of the Hamas-led government in March 2006 as it followed similar illegal recruitment policies that favored certain categories of citizens.
Thousands of people were recruited by this government under so-called 'Parallel Contracts'.
Yet, thousands were also employed in the Executive Force; a security force that was created by Hamas' Ministry of Interior.
The report then considers the decision adopted by the new Emergency Government suspending the salaries of 31,000 civil servants.
Those include all those who were recruited after 31 December 2005.
This decision has exacerbated the living conditions of 200,000 citizens, who are the dependents of these employees, in violation of their wellbeing rights.
Further, the decision sets a precedent by making such a decision with a retroactive effect.
There is fear that other future governments implement measures with the same nature in an abusive way.
Such an atmosphere will render civil servants permanently anxious about the stability of their work.
Finally, the report considers the sanctions and limitations stipulated in the Civil Service Law and the Military Service Law.
Both laws do not include any articles authorizing the government to collectively suspend civil and security servants' salaries.
The report concludes with recommending the PNA to: Revoke the Emergency Government's decision under question.
Adhere to the law in all the stages of recruitment process in the governmental sector.
Render illegal all the appointments which are inconsistent with the law and which are primarily based on political or personal considerations rather than the sector's need and the individual competence and qualifications.
Reexamine and review the individual files of those employees whose salaries have been suspended before taking any further measures.
Any steps must be implemented without discrimination of any kind.
Sanction those officials who prove to have breached the law in recruitment since the establishment of the PNA, regardless the positions they occupied or still occupy.
The report in Arabic only: A report on the Emergency Government's decision to suspend the salaries of 31,000 civil servants END