Islamic Human Rights Commission
For immediate release
11th January 2000
HUMAN RIGHTS IN THE MIDDLE EAST
International Standards for All
IHRC is backing recent calls for the improvement of human rights in the Middle East, and in particular draws attention to the reports of human rights observers to the situation of Lebanese, Palestinian and Israeli civilians at the hands of Israeli authorities.
In its latest report B’tselem, the Israeli Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories, catalogues the range and severity of violations perpetrated including: extra-judicial detention for prolonged periods; use of severe torture during detention; abducting persons and holding them hostage in Israeli prisons; expulsions and forcible transfers of residents; forced conscription of Southern Lebanese including minors into the SLA; flagrant violations of the laws of war resulting in the deaths of hundreds of civilians; the use of prohibited weapons, including phosphorous, flechettes and roadside mines.
Notable hostages include Sheikh Abdulkareen Obaid, abducted from his home in South Lebanon in 1989 by the IDF, and still held incommunicado in an Israeli prison. Other groups have reported that in 1998 alone, 14 Palestinian children were killed and 350 injured by Israeli soldiers and settlers.
Even Jewish Israelis face discrimination and prejudice at state level on the basis of their colour. Notorious incidents include the disposal of donated blood from Ethiopian Jews by Israeli blood banks, as well as well-documented reports of institutionalised racism in Israeli police and security forces, as well as at various levels of society.
The current international focus on peace in the region has failed to absorb the significance and importance of redressing abuses in all their enormity, as the only way to secure a just future for the Middle East. That is the real challenge facing those who ostensibly advocate concern for the region’s future.
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