Al-Mezan condemns the escalating racist violations against
Palestinian detainees in Israeli prisons
He warns of its catastrophic repercussions
Al Mezan Center for Human Rights condemns the policy of racial discrimination and the escalation of violations of the rights of Palestinian detainees in Israeli prisons guaranteed under the provisions of international humanitarian law and international human rights law, and warns of its catastrophic repercussions that threaten to explode conditions inside prisons. It is noteworthy that the latest racist practices were restricting the exercise of the right of detainees to receive family visits, which exacerbates their human suffering, especially in light of a number of escalating restrictions and violations against Palestinian detainees, starting with the policy of administrative detention. This includes a violation of fair trial guarantees, not ending with the violation of the guaranteed rights that prove to the detained person after the judicial ruling becomes his right to early release.
According to the information available to PCHR, on 27/8/2023, the Israeli Minister of Security, Itamar Ben Gvir, issued a decision to reduce the number of visits of Palestinian detainees in Israeli prisons, from once a month to once every two months, which doubles the violation of the right to receive family visits, especially since (60) Palestinian detainees from the Gaza Strip are completely deprived of visiting their families for political reasons. The vast majority of detainees are also denied the right to receive visits from first-degree relatives for security reasons, as the Palestinian detainee Bassel Imad Arif, who has the longest period of deprivation from receiving a visit to his father, which amounted to about 20 years.
Palestinian detainees enjoy protection under the provisions of international humanitarian law, as the Fourth Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons of 1949, under the rules for the treatment of internees, guarantees a set of health, legal, social and cultural rights, including the right to receive family visits, as Article (116) of the Convention stipulates that: “Every detained person shall be allowed to receive his visitors, especially his relatives, at regular intervals…” International human rights standards also guarantee this right under Rule 58 of the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners in 1955 (Mandela), principle (19) of the United Nations Body of Principles for the Protection of All Persons under Any Form of Detention or Imprisonment, 1988, and other standards.
It should be noted that the Israeli Prison Service administration continued earlier to deny detainees in the Gaza Strip from receiving family visits, despite the termination of the nearly two-year ban on detainees in the West Bank and Jerusalem due to the (Covid-19) pandemic, as a result of which Al Mezan Center for Human Rights and the HaMoked Center for the Defense of the Individual submitted, on 20/12/2021 AD, a petition to the Israeli Supreme Court, according to which it approved the resumption of the family visits program for detainees in the Gaza Strip.
The prisoners’ institutions indicate that the number of Palestinian detainees in Israeli prisons reached (4700) detainees until the end of 2022, including (29) women, (150) children, and about (850) administrative detainees, including (7) children and two women, (15) journalists, and five members of the Palestinian Legislative Council.
Al Mezan calls on the international community to shoulder its legal and moral responsibilities towards the occupied Palestinian territories and their inhabitants, in light of the escalation of apartheid crimes against Palestinian civilians, and calls for pressure on the occupying power to guarantee the right of Palestinian detainees to receive regular family visits, and to cancel all measures, which would restrict their rights guaranteed under the provisions of international humanitarian law and international human rights law.
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