Speech/statement | Date: 2006-02-27
Minister of Foreign Affairs Jonas Gahr Støre
Answer to question about Palestine prisoners
The Storting, 27 February 2006
The Storting. Written question no. 479 (2005-2006), dated
16 February 2006
By Anniken Huitfeldt (Labour Party) to the Minister of Foreign Affairs
Replied to on 27 February 2006 by Minister of Foreign Affairs Jonas Gahr Støre (Labour Party)
Translated from the Norwegian text
Hussam Shaheen was the leader-elect of Fatah Youth in Palestine, when he was arrested two years ago. Since then, he has been in prison for two years without sentence and has spent long periods in isolation. Over 9 000 Palestinian prisoners are in Israeli jails, and many have been in prison for long periods without sentence. What will the Minister of Foreign Affairs do to ensure that Hussam Shaheen and other political prisoners who have been imprisoned without sentence for long periods in Israeli jails are treated in accordance with fundamental legal principles?
Hussam Shaheen, leader of the Fatah Youth Organisation (FYO), has been imprisoned in isolation in an Israeli prison for the past two years. It is claimed that the conditions of imprisonment are poor. A series of human rights organisations have taken up his case, and he has now been moved to an ordinary prison.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs’ reply:
The Hussam Shaheen case is an example of Israeli use of administrative custody. This practice involves deprivation of freedom without adequate legal examination, and conflicts with international human rights standards. According to Israeli human rights organisations, around 700 Palestinians are in such administrative custody today. I agree completely with Ms Huitfeldt that this is highly regrettable.
Israel has ratified several UN human rights conventions and the country’s obligations under the UN International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the UN Convention against Torture are particularly relevant in this context. It is important that Israeli authorities comply with the international human rights obligations the country has assumed. I can add that the UN Human Rights Committee has decided that the obligations which Israel has assumed under the UN International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights also apply to the Palestinian population in the occupied territories. Israeli authorities are familiar with Norwegian attitudes and opinions concerning Israel’s obligations under international law. Norway has for many years supported an Israeli voluntary organisation which gives practical legal assistance to Palestinians in administrative custody.
We strongly oppose the Israeli practice of using administrative custody, and the breaches of central legal safeguards this involves. Norway will take up the use of administrative custody with the Israeli authorities, and request that the people affected by it are treated in a way that is in accordance with fundamental principles of the rule of law.