Palestine on Saturday called on the international community and signatories of the Geneva Conventions to assume their responsibilities towards protecting Palestinian detainees in Israeli prisons.
This came in a statement issued by the Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates on the occasion of the Prisoner’s Day, which is celebrated by Palestinians on April 17 of every year. It was approved by the Palestinian National Council during its regular session on April 17, 1974.
The statement called for holding the Israeli occupation authorities accountable over “the racist colonial system” against Palestinians by “expelling and displacing them from their lands” and carrying out arbitrary detentions against them.
The statement described Israeli courts as “colonial military courts” that do not meet “the minimum standards of the due legal process and a fair trial”, reiterating its call on the international community to work for the immediate release of prisoners.
The Geneva Conventions, which regulate warfare and armed conflict laws, entered into force on Oct. 21, 1950, and have far been ratified by 194 states.
According to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the Geneva Conventions protect people who do not take part in active hostilities such as civilians, health workers, and aid workers, and those who have ceased to participate in them including the wounded, sick, shipwrecked soldiers, and prisoners of war.
“The silence of the international community enabled the occupation authorities to continue the policy of arbitrary detention and its systematic violations against Palestinian prisoners, their families, and their rights,” the statement said.
The ministry pledged to continue working on the legal, political and diplomatic levels to ensure the protection of prisoners.
An estimated 4,500 Palestinians are believed to be held in Israeli prisons, including 41 women, 140 minors, and 440 administrative detainees, according to data compiled by organizations on the rights of prisoners.
*Writing by Ibrahim Mukhtar
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