The Palestinian Detainees and Ex-Detainees Affairs Commission said that at least 750 Palestinians are currently being held without charge or trial in Israeli detention facilities.

The commission said, in  a press statement, that the Israeli government continues to violate the Fourth Geneva Conventions related to administrative detention, an archaic Israeli policy, dating back to the time of British Mandate, in which detainees are held, for renewable periods of up to 6 months, without charge or trial.

The commission noted that the month of October, 2015, witnessed an unprecedented and significant increase in this procedure; by almost 50%,  in the number of Palestinians who were placed under administrative detention by the Israeli authorities.  The center recorded a 100 percent increase in the number of Palestinians placed by Israel under administrative detention, when compared to the year 2014.

It further noted, according to WAFA correspondence, that, since the year 2000, the total number of administrative detention orders has reached 25 thousand.

On April 10th, the United Nations Human Rights Office (OHCHR) expressed concern by the continued and increasing use of administrative detention by Israeli authorities against Palestinians, who are being held without charge or trial, often on the basis of secret evidence, for periods of up to six months.

According to the UN news Centre, “the Israeli practice of administrative detention has been condemned on numerous occasions by the UN Human Rights Office and the Human Rights Committee that oversees implementation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which Israel has ratified.’

“OHCHR reiterates it call on Israel to end its practice of administrative detention and to either release without delay or to promptly charge all administrative detainees and prosecute them with all the judicial guarantees required by international human rights law, said OHCHR spokesperson Ravina Shamdasani.

Addameer Human Rights Center has stated, “Administrative detention is the most extreme measure that international humanitarian law allows an occupying power to use against residents of occupied territory. As such, states are not allowed to use it in a sweeping manner. To the contrary, administrative detention may be used against protected persons in occupied territory only for “imperative reasons of security” (Fourth Geneva Convention, Art.78).

“In practice, Israel routinely uses administrative detention in violation of the strict parameters established by international law. Tellingly, Israel has claimed to be under a continuous state of emergency sufficient to justify the use of administrative detention since its inception in 1948. In addition, administrative detention is frequently used – in direct contravention to international law – for collective and criminal punishment rather than for the prevention of future threat.”

In practice, Israel’s administrative detention regime violates numerous other international standards as well. For example, administrative detainees from the West Bank are deported from the occupied territory and interned inside Israel, in direct violation of Fourth Geneva Convention prohibitions (Articles 49 and 76), added the center.

Furthermore, ‘administrative detainees are often denied regular family visits in accordance with international law standards, and Israel regularly fails to separate administrative detainees from the regular prison population as required by law. Moreover, in the case of child detainees, Israel regularly fails to take into account the best interests of the child as required under international law’.

According to International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Article 9, “Although international human rights law permits some ed use of administrative detention in emergency situations, the authorities are required to follow basic rules for detention, including a fair hearing at which the detainee can challenge the reasons for his or her detention. Moreover, to use such detention, there must be a public emergency that threatens the life of the nation, and detention can only be ordered on an individual, case-by-case basis without discrimination of any kind.”

As Israeli human rights group B’Tselem affirms, the right to liberty is one of the pillars of human rights, and prolonged arbitrary detention constitutes a breach of international customary law.

(Photo credit: Addameer)

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