Press release of Mr. Didier Reynders, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, on his meeting with the Arab League ambassadors
On Wednesday 17 May, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Didier Reynders met the ambassadors of the Arab countries accredited in Brussels. The main focus of the meeting was the situation in the Middle East Peace Process. It also allowed an exchange of views on the regional situation as a whole.
On this occasion, the Arab ambassadors and the Minister discussed the situation of Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli prisons who have started a hunger strike to protest against their detention conditions. The Minister is paying close attention to the situation of these prisoners, whose strike has been going on for exactly one month.
The Minister stresses the need to respect international humanitarian law and human rights towards prisoners, in particular the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, regardless of committed crimes and sentences against them. The Minister also reminds articles 4 and 76 of the Fourth Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, which prohibit, inter alia, the detention of prisoners of an occupied country outside of it, a situation that makes the access of prisoners’ family members extremely difficult.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs also expressed his deep concern about the widespread use of administrative detentions without formal charges. He reminds that such administrative arrests must remain of an exceptional nature for a limited period, and take into account various guarantees such as the right to respect for the rights of the detainee, the right to be informed of the facts with which they have been reproached and the right to a fair trial within a reasonable time.