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Source: United Nations Office at Geneva (UNOG)
Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People (CEIRPP)
4 April 2012



INTERNATIONAL MEETING ON QUESTION OF PALESTINE CLOSES ITS TWO-DAY SESSION
The meeting held two days of talks on the situation of Palestinian prisoners
4 April 2012


The International Meeting on the Question of Palestine closed its two-day session this afternoon, hearing an address by Mr. Riyad Mansour, Permanent Observer of Palestine to the United Nations. During the meeting measures and steps to address the issue of Palestinian political prisoners were proposed, including the use of existing remedial mechanisms, requesting the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice on the issue of prisoner of war status for Palestinian political prisoners and adoption of a General Assembly resolution concerning the situation of Palestinian prisoners.

During the two day meeting the International Meeting held three thematic discussions, on legal and humanitarian aspects of the arrests and detentions of Palestinians by the occupying Power; on the legal status of Palestinian prisoners in international law; and on the issue of Palestinian political prisoners in the context of the Israeli-Palestinian political process.

In closing remarks, Riyad Mansour, Permanent Observer of Palestine to the United Nations, said that the issue of Palestinian prisoners was a part of a long journey of the Palestinian people towards freedom. It became clear during the meeting that the intention of Palestine was to seek legal status for Palestinian prisoners as prisoner of war, with all that would mean. Mr. Mansour said that Palestine would not sign any agreement or peace treaty without freedom for Palestine prisoners and invited all to treat them with dignity, in accordance with the international humanitarian law and in a manner of civilized societies.

Abdou Salam Diallo, the Chairman of the Committee on the Exercise on the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, in closing remarks said the Committee had heard the indignation of the world public opinion concerning treatment of Palestinian prisoners and the suffering of children in Israeli prisons and centres of detention. International law must be respected, said Mr. Diallo. The Committee reaffirmed the right of Israel to live in security and said that the blind attacks against Israeli civilians must stop. International initiatives at the diplomatic level, together with civil society organizations’ initiatives, would surely lead to improvement of the situation of Palestinian prisoners.

Mr. Mansour and Mr. Diallo announced that a meeting would be held in Paris in two months time to address the situation of Palestinian women and children.

The Chairperson’s summary and key conclusions and recommendations of the Meeting will be available in a few days on the
website.

Closing Session


RIYAD MANSOUR,
Permanent Observer of Palestine to the United Nations, expressed the gratitude of the Palestinian people to the Committee for organizing this meeting in the world’s capital of human rights, Geneva. It was the third Conference to be held on the specific issue of Palestinian prisoners. The first had taken place in Vienna, preceded by an international ministerial conference convened last year in Bali. The issue of Palestinian prisoners was a part of the long journey of the Palestinian people towards freedom. The meeting had allowed for meetings with many of the organizations based in Geneva, such as the International Committee of the Red Cross, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Swiss Government. Those organisations had met with the Palestine delegation and experts to discuss the question of Palestinian prisoners, in the quest of the Committee to execute its mandate and advance the cause of the Palestinian people, which was its self-determination and freedom. It was one in a series of conferences; another had recently taken place in Egypt on the economic cost of the Israeli blockade, which cost Palestine $7 billion per year. That sum meant that once freedom was achieved, Palestine would no longer be a failed state.

The atmosphere at the Conference was subdued, Mr. Mansour said, and it was true; the issue of prisoners was a very sensitive subject and a very special issue for the Palestinian people. The objective of freeing all Palestinian prisoners was not only the domain of a dozen experts, or the 4,500 prisoners; it was the domain of each single household in Palestine. Palestine would not sign any agreement or peace treaty without freedom for Palestine prisoners. Mr. Mansour invited all participants to advance the issue of Palestinian prisoners and treat them with dignity, in accordance with international humanitarian law and in the manner of civilized societies. The best men and women of Palestine were struggling for the objective of Palestine and those who ended up in prison must be treated in accordance with international law. It became clear during the meeting that the intention of Palestine was to seek legal status for Palestinian prisoners as prisoner of war, with all that would mean. Palestinians invited all to challenge them, question things that were said and question ideas, to enable Palestine to make the correct decision as it marched forward.

ABDOU SALAM DIALLO,
Chairman of the Committee on the Exercise on the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, thanked the attendees and the Swiss Government for supporting the organisation of the meeting. The Committee heard the indignation of world public opinion concerning treatment of Palestinian prisoners and the suffering of children in Israeli prisons and centres of detentions. A number of measures and steps to address the issue of Palestinian political prisoners had been proposed, including the use of existing remedial mechanisms, requesting the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice on the issue of prisoner of war status for Palestinian political prisoners, adoption of a General Assembly resolution concerning the situation of Palestinian prisoners and more. The question of Palestinian prisoners was very important for permanent status; ending administrative detention and releasing prisoners detained prior to the Oslo Agreement would be important gestures by Israel that would support resumption of negotiations. International law must be respected, said Mr. Diallo. The Committee reaffirmed the right of Israel to live in security and said that the blind attacks against Israeli civilians must stop. International initiatives at the diplomatic level, together with civil society organizations’ initiatives, would surely lead to improvement of the situation of Palestinian prisoners.


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For use of information media; not an official record

M12/13E


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