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UN receives letters of accession from Palestinian Authority

[JURIST] The United Nations [official website] confirmed [UN news centre report] on Thursday that Palestinian officials have delivered letters of accession to 15 international conventions and treaties [text]. Upon signing these letters of accession, President Mahmoud Abbas [official website, in Arabic] emphasized Palestine's effort to continue negotiations with Israel, which resumed in July 2013. Palestinian UN representative Riyad Mansour [official website], in regard to the letters, stated, "We are proud of this and consider it a step by our President to consolidate and strengthen the pillars of the State of Palestine in the international system." Prior to the letters of accession, Palestine had struck an agreement with Israel to release 100 prisoners in exchange for the Palestinian government to refrain from seeking international intervention. However, Israel has allegedly not held up its end of the agreement, which has prompted Palestine to begin to appeal to the UN.

Israel has been criticized for its treatment of Palestinian prisoners, and going on hunger strike to protest administrative detention by Israeli authorities has recently become a common tactic by Palestinian prisoners. In February 2013 UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay expressed concern [JURIST report] over reports that three Palestinians being held in Israeli custody are in poor health. UN Special Rapporteur Richard Falk went further and called for the immediate release of the three men. In June 2012 Falk called on Israel to release two Palestinian detainees [JURIST report] who have been on hunger strike for 82 and 58 days to protest their administrative detention. Earlier that month Amnesty International (AI) [advocacy website] urged Israel to release all prisoners [JURIST report] of conscience and administrative detainees or immediately try them under international fair trial standards. In May 2012 UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called on Israel to try or release more than 1,000 prisoners [JURIST report] who had been on hunger strike.

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