13 June 2016
Distinguished President of the Council,
Colleagues and friends
The occupation of Palestinian territory by Israel entered its 49th year last week. Tensions remain high across the Occupied Palestinian Territory and in Israel, and the risk of a further sudden escalation in violence remains very real. Violence is among the many consequences of this prolonged oppression, including and inexcusably against civilians on both sides. Both sides have seen civilians attacked recently, and I deplore those actions. The reactions of the Israeli authorities – in particular, instances of excessive use of force – have also been a cause for concern. I have reminded the Israeli Government of its obligations under international human rights and humanitarian law on a number of occasions. The increase in detention of Palestinians this year, particularly in administrative detention without trial, is another serious concern. At the end of April there were almost 700 Palestinian administrative detainees, more than double the figure at the end of September 2015 and the highest number since June 2008. Over 400 Palestinian children are currently detained in Israeli prisons, among them 13 who are in administrative detention – again, the highest figure since public records began in 2008. I once again join the call by a number of Treaty Bodies for the practice of administrative detention by Israel to be abolished.