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UN Coordinator calls for protection of rights of Palestinians detained by Israel

February 20, 2014 at 3:32 pm

The United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator for the Occupied Palestinian Territory has called for protection of the rights of the Palestinians detained in Israeli prisons, especially women and children.

In a press statement, Maxwell Gaylard stressed that due legal process must be upheld, regardless of the reasons for the detention. Standards in line with international law should be in place for all of the 6-7,000 Palestinian detainees in Israeli jails, he said.

Mr Gaylard noted that the International Committee of the Red Cross continues to carry out its role regarding the circumstances of Palestinians held in Israeli jails.

He added that Israeli policies and practices for dealing with Palestinian prisoners raise many concerns, including the lack of clarity on the legal status of those prisoners; the locations and circumstances of their detention; the need to access legal consultation and representation; and the issue of administrative detention. In addition, he referred to the banning of family visits for detainees from Gaza.

“Not allowing visits by prisoners’ families is not consistent with international humanitarian law… as this breaks family ties and leads to the almost complete isolation of these individuals, some for many years,” Gaylard said.

“The situation of over 200 child prisoners under the age of 18 and 37 women prisoners is of particular concern. We continue to remind the Government of Israel of the importance of addressing the varying needs and protecting the specific rights of these particularly vulnerable detainees, in accordance with international conventions on the treatment of those in detention. Children under the age of 18 are entitled to special protection, and this must be observed by the Israeli authorities.”

He also noted that the process for detaining Palestinians in Israel is contrary to the Geneva conventions.