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UN official expresses concern over administrative detention in Israel and Palestine

[JURIST] UN Regional Humanitarian Coordinator for the Sahel Robert Piper [official profile] on Tuesday expressed concern [statement text] over "the continued practice of administrative detention in Israeli jails and detention centers." Piper specifically mentioned the case of Mohammed Al-Qiq, a detainee whose health is rapidly declining and reaching potentially irreversible damage. Al-Qiq has been on a hunger strike for approximately two months protesting the allegedly arbitrary nature and conditions of his confinement. The Israeli Prison Service [official website, in Hebrew] notes that there are more than 525 Palestinians being kept in administrative detention by the Israeli government. Piper concluded his remarks calling for the immediate release of all people, "Palestinian or Israeli" being held in administrative detention and urging governments to investigate claims of maltreatment in such facilities.

Recent conflicts between Israel and Palestine [HRW backgrounder] over settlements in the occupied West Bank have raised concerns over possible human rights violations. Last month, Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] urged [JURIST report] businesses to cease operations in Israel settlements. In August, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged both sides of the conflict [JURIST report] to reconcile and move towards peace after an attack occurred in the West Bank village of Duma, where Jewish extremists allegedly set fire to a Palestinian home while the family slept. In April, HRW alleged [report] that Israeli settlement farmers in the occupied West Bank are using Palestinian child laborers in dangerous conditions in violation of international laws. Last January, Germany's top human rights official urged Israel to cooperate with the International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] probe into possible war crimes in Palestinian territories. After a prosecutor for the ICC announced the investigation [JURIST report], Israel's government said that it would not work with the ICC and called for its funding to be cut.

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