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Palestinians: Prisoners

Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs written question – answered on 12th December 2011.

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Photo of Lyn Brown Lyn Brown Opposition Whip (Commons)

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has had with (a) his international counterparts and (b) representatives of international organisations about the treatment of Palestinian prisoners by the Israeli authorities.

Photo of Alistair Burt Alistair Burt The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs

We regularly discuss the issue of treatment of Palestinian prisoners by the Israeli authorities with our international partners, including our EU counterparts. We also regularly meet international organisations, such as the International Committee of the Red Cross.

I discussed this matter during my visit in June with the Minister of Justice, indicating the UK's concerns about both the detention and the treatment of Palestinian prisoners, including children. Our ambassador in Tel Aviv raised the issue on 26 October 2011 during his visit to the Israel Prison Service complex, at the invitation of the Public Security Minister. He raised concerns over visitation rights and the treatment of minors, particularly cuffing and shackling. In his discussions with the Public Security Minister, the ambassador stressed the importance the UK placed on Israel fulfilling its obligations under international law. On 28 November 2011, I stated to the House that the UK Government view the shackling of children in detention as wrong.

The Government of Israel have reaffirmed to us their commitment to treating prisoners in line with international human rights standards. The UK will continue to monitor the situation with regard to Palestinian prisoners in Israeli prisons and encourage the Government of Israel to meet their stated commitments.

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