PRC Sends Briefings to UN Working Groups about Alarming Conditions of Palestinian Detainees in Israel

PRC Sends Briefings to UN Working Groups about Alarming Conditions of Palestinian Detainees in Israel

Prison cells in Israel | Photo: Eric Sultan

The Palestinian Return Centre (PRC) in London passed around two separate documents to UN bodies, raising alarm bells over the dire condition of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli detention centres and the inhumane treatment they have been increasingly subjected to since October. 7th.

One of the documents, entitled “Briefing on the Situation of Palestinian Administrative Detention Prisoners Post-October 7th, 2023” was handed over to the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention.

The document said that the period under examination has been characterized by a significant rise in detentions without charge or trial. From October 7, 2023, to March 28, 2024, nearly 6,000 Palestinians have been arrested in the West Bank, with around 3,855 held under administrative detention.

The briefing described severe mistreatment of detainees, including torture, degrading treatment, and denial of fundamental rights such as access to medical care and legal representation. Detainees have experienced severe beatings, humiliation, and overcrowding in facilities under conditions that flout international laws against torture.

It added that the period since October 7 has seen the deaths of four Palestinian detainees under circumstances that remain insufficiently investigated.

PRC called upon the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention to immediately review Israeli detention practices and conduct independent investigations into allegations of torture, abuse, and deaths in custody, with accountability for those found responsible.

Entitled “Briefing on the Enforced Disappearance and Treatment of Palestinian Prisoners post-October 7, 2023”, the second document was sent to the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances.

The report compiles evidence and testimonies on the forced disappearance, arbitrary detention, and abuse of Palestinian prisoners by Israeli forces following the escalation of hostilities on October 7, 2023.

PRC said the Israeli authorities have acknowledged classifying 849 detainees from the Gaza Strip as unlawful combatants. It has been revealed that the majority of detainees from Gaza are not combatants but civilians, including women, and they are treated and apparently classified as unlawful combatants, not even receiving the rights of combatants. Israel refuses to disclose their names and places of detention and does not allow visits to them. There is an increasing fear that they are being held in inhumane and harsh conditions that amount to torture, without supervision and without access to a lawyer, and they are tried as unlawful combatants.

Detainees have reported severe beatings, humiliation, and psychological abuse at the hands of Israeli forces and settlers. Instances of public humiliation, physical assault, and deprivation of basic needs have been widespread, with detainees often stripped, mocked, and subjected to conditions amounting to torture, it added.

The briefing highlighted the dire conditions in Israeli detention facilities, with reports of starvation, thirst, and lack of medical care.

PRC said the denial of adequate healthcare, especially for detainees with chronic conditions, raises serious concerns about their welfare and treatment under international law. It called upon the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances to conduct immediate investigations into the violations, and to urge international community to obligate Israel to comply with international legal standards in the treatment of detainees.

The briefings were compiled by the Palestinian Return Centre - Organisation in Consultative Status with the UN Economic and Social Council since 2015 - in cooperation with The International Foundation for Solidarity with Palestinian Prisoners (TADAMON).

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