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PCHR Receives Parliamentary Delegation from the British House of Lords and Parliament and from the European Parliament

Ref: 48/2011


On Monday, 25 July 2011, the
Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) received a parliamentary delegation comprised
of 19 Parliament Members (PM) from Britain, Scotland and the European Union,
headed by British PM Tony Lioyd, in the al-Mathaf Hotel. Members of the delegation
wished to have a look on humanitarian conditions in the Gaza Strip.


Raji Sourani, Director of PCHR;
Hamdi Shaqqoura, PCHR Deputy Director for Program Affair; Refaat Rustum, Deputy
Director of External Relationships at the Islamic University in Gaza; Muhsen
Abu Ramadan, Chairman of Palestinian NGO Network (PNGO) Board of Directors in
Gaza; Amjad al-Shawa, Director of PNGO Office
in Gaza; Mohammed al-Bakri, Director of Union of Agricultural Work Committees;
Nadia Abu Nahla, Director of Women’s Affairs Technical Committee; Amal Siam,
Director of the Women’s Affairs Center;
Sara Almer, Director of Oxfam-GB in Gaza; Carl Chempri, Communication Officer
at Oxfam-GB office in Gaza; Abdul Nasser Farawana, a researcher in the area of
prisoners; Mariam Zaqqout, Director of Culture and Free Thought Association in
Khan Yunis; Issa Saba, Director of Canaan Institute of New Pedagogy; and Naim
al-Ghalban, Director of al-Wedad Association for Community Rehabilitation, met
with the delegation.


During the meeting, participants
reviewed the situation of human rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territory
(OPT), particularly in the Gaza Strip, in view of the continued closure which
has been imposed on Gaza for more than 4 years and in view of its catastrophic
impacts on various aspects of Palestinian civilians’ life. Representatives of
the Palestinian civil society stressed that the closure has continued to be
imposed although Israel announced "easing" the closure more than one
year ago. They stressed that imports, especially basic materials required for
the industry and for the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip, are subjected to
severe restrictions. They explained that a total ban has continued to be
imposed on Gaza’s exports, except for some agricultural crops, and that this
situation constitutes an institutionalization of the siege. They called upon the
parliamentary delegation to exert further serious efforts in order to put an
end to the closure.


The meeting also addressed the
report of the UN Fact Finding Mission on Gaza conflict (the Goldstone Report)
and the failure of the international community to implement the recommendations
of the report, including the recommendation to the UN Assembly General to
establish a fund to compensate Palestinians, request Israel to pay required
compensations to this fund, lift restrictions imposed on the movement of goods
and services and open border crossings.


Further, the participants talked
about the conditions of Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails and their
cruel, inhumane and degrading living conditions, including torture,
deterioration of health conditions, medical negligence and denial of the right
to family visitation.  They noted that
the Israeli occupation authorities have recently intensified punitive measures
taken against Palestinian prisoners, including intensifying acts of searching
prisoners after forcing them to take off their clothes, forcing leaders in jail
to stay in solitary confinement cells and denying prisoner’s their right to
have access to higher education.


The representative of the
Palestinian civil society provided members of the delegation with figures and
data about Palestinian prisoners, including women, children, sick prisoners,
and 19 members of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC), including 16 PLC
members from the Change and Reform Bloc of affiliated to Hamas, 2 PLC members
from Fatah and a PLC member from the Popular Front for the Liberation of


Representatives of the Palestinian
civil society called upon members of the European delegation for an effective European
role, fulfilling their obligations and take political steps in order to stop
crimes committed by the Israeli occupation forces against Palestinian civilians
and in order to put an end to the Israeli occupation of the OPT.