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NAM ministers express concerns about 6,000 Palestinians in Israeli prisons

February 20, 2014 at 3:33 pm

The final declaration of the Non-Aligned Movements’ Ministerial Conference and Commemorative Meeting on Arab and Palestinian prisoners, which was held in Indonesia and attended by 120 countries, emphasised the impact that the prisoners’ issue has on Palestinian society and the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. The statement read; “this issue is a central one and a practical and effective benchmark in the construction of a just peace in the region.”

The declaration welcomed the Arab and Palestinian proposal to address the issue in the UN General Assembly, where a formal request would be made for a resolution asking the International Court of Justice to issue an advisory opinion to determine the legal status of Palestinian prisoners, and detainees held by the Occupying Power under international law.

The ministers denounced “Israeli practices [that] constitute serious violations of international humanitarian law and in many cases amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity”; specifically the use of torture, negligence of sick prisoners, the detention of children, attacks on unarmed prisoners, and solitary confinement.
The ministers expressed their utmost concern about the presence of 6,000 Palestinians in 22 prisons and detention camps, noting that 300 among these prisoners are children under 18 years old, 37 women, and 16 members of the Palestinian Legislative Council.
The NAM conference dedicated a special session to the prisoners’ issue, and it was attended by the Palestinian Minister of Prisoners Affairs Essa Quraqei’ and headed by the Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa and the Egyptian Foreign Minister and NAM chair Dr Nabil El Arabi.
The ministers also stressed that, “Palestinian political prisoners held by Israel, the Occupying Power, should be treated as prisoners of war, when applicable.”
The declaration “deplored the continuing arrests of Palestinian civilians, including through use of brutal force in military raids, the arbitrary use of administrative detentions, forcible interrogations and transfer of prisoners to Israel.”
The ministers demanded the release of those Palestinian prisoners “arrested in relation to their activities opposing the occupation … without any preconditions.”