Friday, 6 September 2019

Questions (23)

Seán Crowe


23. Deputy Seán Crowe asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if his attention has been drawn to the death in solitary confinement of a person (details supplied) following a number of in-depth interrogations in Israeli holding centres; if he has contacted his Israeli counterpart regarding this death in custody to request an explanation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34683/19]

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Written answers (Question to Foreign)

The human rights situation in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory is a matter of concern, in view of the frequency with which violations take place. This includes the treatment of prisoners in detention, and I have raised the subject of detention conditions directly with the Israeli authorities on my visits to the region.

Ireland has also raised these issues at EU level and in international fora. At the 41st session of the Human Rights Council in July, Ireland raised the issue of the unacceptable treatment of Palestinians in detention, especially minors, particularly in comparison to the treatment of Israeli citizens. Ireland also chose to highlight the issues of prisoners during the most recent Universal Periodic Review of Israel at the UN Human Rights Council, which took place in 2018. In that process, Ireland recommended that Israel ensure full respect for international human rights obligations, in particular those specified in Article 9 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, towards all prisoners, and that the UNCAT definition of torture be incorporated into Israeli legislation.

Specifically in relation to the case raised by the Deputy, the Israeli authorities have a responsibility to ensure transparency around all the circumstances relating to this death, something which is important in relation to all deaths in custody.  Israel must comply with its commitments under Article 91 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which requires the provision of adequate medical treatment for prisoners and the transfer of sick prisoners, who require special medical care, to hospitals.

My Department and I will continue to press on these issues in the relevant multilateral fora, and also, where appropriate, directly with Israel, both with the Israeli Embassy here and through our own Embassy in Tel Aviv. Ireland also provides financial support to Israeli and Palestinian NGOs who are active in relation to human rights issues, including prisoners. Their continued work is crucial in bringing these issues to light.

In relation to the specific individual referred to by the Deputy, my Department will continue to monitor this case through our Missions in the region.