ICRC Raps Israeli Treatment of Palestinian Detainees

ICRC Raps Israeli Treatment of Palestinian Detainees

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – The International Committee of the Red Cross deplored the high rate of arrest of Palestinians by the Israeli forces, reminded the Zionist regime that it must treat detainees with humanity and dignity, and voiced readiness to resume its regular visits to Palestinian prisoners.

On December 19, 2023, a group of ex-prisoners of war from Iran, recalling their own unjust incarceration by Iraq's former Baathist regime, petitioned the president of the International Committee of the Red Cross, urging attention to the plight of innocent Palestinian prisoners detained by the Israeli army.

In their letter, the former Iranian prisoners called on the ICRC president to “pay special attention to the issue of the innocent Palestinian prisoners, especially women, children and the elderly, who have been kidnapped and taken captive by Israeli soldiers during the past years and in recent months.”

The ICRC responded to the letter on January 1, thanking the Iranians for writing and sharing their experience and concern.

“The ICRC is deeply worried by the suffering we have seen unfold in the past weeks and is sparing no effort to urge all parties involved in the ongoing conflict to adhere to their obligations under international humanitarian law. We are speaking with Israeli and Hamas officials and other actors who have an influence on the parties to the armed conflict as part of our efforts on this issue. We do so bilaterally and confidentially, as decades of experience have taught us that the most effective approach to be able to help those in need is to advocate behind closed doors for their interests,” the Geneva-based humanitarian organization said.

“The ICRC is aware of reports referring to the treatment of detainees and pointing to a high rate of arrests led by the Israeli forces. Detainees need to be treated with humanity and dignity at all times and the ICRC is ready to resume its regular detention visits, which include among other things monitoring the treatment of detainees and the conditions of detention in all relevant facilities and ensuring that detainees can communicate with their families,” it added.

“Mirjana Spoljaric, the President of the ICRC, recently visited Gaza and the West Bank to discuss efforts to assist communities suffering from the effects of the conflict. President Spoljaric visited the European Hospital in Gaza, where ICRC medical teams have been conducting life-saving surgery alongside local health-care workers. In the West Bank, she met with health authorities as well as representatives of Palestinian detainees, to listen and share with them the ICRC’s persistent efforts to regain access to monitor their treatment in detention. Resuming our visits to Palestinian detainees remains a priority for the ICRC in Israel and the Occupied Territories,” the ICRC team said.

“We have called for a de-escalation and for sustained humanitarian access. We continue to insist that civilians, medical facilities and personnel and humanitarian workers are protected by international humanitarian law. We have publicly declared that is unacceptable that civilians have no safe place to go in Gaza, and we have openly shared that there is no adequate humanitarian response currently possible due to the military siege in place,” the letter said.

“The ICRC is actively present in Gaza and is doing its utmost to help. In our role as a neutral intermediary, between 24th and 30th November, our teams carried out an operation that facilitated the release of 154 Palestinian detainees who were transferred to authorities in the West Bank to be ultimately reunited to their families as part of the agreement between the parties to the conflict. We have also brought into Gaza medical and other supplies to health-care facilities as well as livelihood support to displaced people, and have officially stated that an unimpeded and regular flow of aid must be allowed to enter Gaza,” it stated.

“We want to assure you that the ICRC remains unwavering in its commitment to work tirelessly for the protection of people affected by this conflict,” the ICRC concluded.

Nearly 22,000 people have been killed and over 56,000 injured in Israeli attacks on Gaza since October 7.

The Israeli bombardments have destroyed 70 percent of homes in Gaza, where 1.5 million people have been left homeless.

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